Routes Reconnected: Leeds Bradford has 18.2% of the UK population in two-hour drive
While 2020 has been a year like no other, the aviation team Leeds Bradford remain positive and optimistic about the future.
Despite coronavirus, various important developments have occurred at Leeds Bradford. “We re-established links to Newquay Cornwall Airport with Eastern Airways and Belfast City Airport with Aer Lingus Regional,” Tom Holdsworth, Aviation Development Manager, told us. Both were direct replacements for flybe.
“The success of the Newquay route has seen Eastern Airways now plan to fly the route on a year-round basis. More recently, Leeds Bradford has seen Ryanair base a second aircraft at the airport, increasing frequency on key routes, and seeing the return of destinations such as Vilnius to its schedule.”
Large population and wealth
Leeds Bradford has 12.1 million people living within a two-hour drive, although this is of course shared with other airports. “This equates to 18.2% of the UK population,” Holdsworth said, “meaning the Yorkshire region has greater potential than countries such as Scotland and Ireland.”
There are also significant areas of wealth and affluence within the region, with the ‘Golden Triangle’ – between Leeds, York, and Harrogate – a major prospect for the airport.
The Leeds City Region alone has the largest economy outside of London, Holdsworth said, with a GVA of £69.6 million – the result of leading legal, financial, manufacturing, tech industries, and world-class tourist attractions.
And, as Holdsworth enthused, “a globally recognised Premier League football team once again!”
New and future routes to benefit from new terminal
Based on this catchment and demand drivers, the airport is especially focused on attaining routes to North America and the Middle East.
“These are obvious gaps in our current network,” Holdsworth stated, “but addressing unserved and underserved markets into areas within Western and Eastern Europe remain our short-term priority.”
New and current routes will hopefully benefit from a brand-new terminal. “Earlier this year, we submitted a planning application for a new state-of-the-art replacement terminal facility, which, if approved, would become the first new terminal project in the UK since Terminal 5 at London Heathrow.”
This, Holdsworth said, would “offer passengers and airline partners a world-class gateway to the Yorkshire region.” It would truly be Yorkshire’s Airport.