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Country News - 2003

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Mixed reaction to airport extension

Wednesday 17 December 2003

PLANS for a huge increase in the number of passengers passing through Leeds-Bradford Airport in the coming decades were met yesterday - predictably - with highly mixed reactions.

Yorkshire business leaders, and many owners of tourist businesses in the Yorkshire Dales, welcomed the news - but environmental groups reacted with fury.

In a blue-print for the future growth of air travel in Britain published by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling, much of the extra traffic forecast will be fed through regional airports - and that could mean passenger numbers at Leeds-Bradford rising from the present two million a year to seven million by 2030,

This will, of course, mean a huge increase in the number of flights which, predictably, has upset local residents in the North Leeds-Otley-Menston areas and bodies like Friends of the Earth and the Council to Protect Rural England.

However, business leaders say the boost is necessary to maintain Yorkshire's competitiveness in an ever-expanding global market place - and many in the Dales tourist industry are welcoming it.

Said one: "One only has too look at the way the tourist industry has grown on mainland Europe over the past few years. More and more sophisticated tourists want to fly to smaller, regional airports closer to their eventual destinations to avoid the crush, the hassle and the stress of the major air terminals."


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