An airport in Exeter is no aid to the prosperity of this city
I GET really angry at people like Neill Mitchell, who although he states he's a retired independent regional transport analyst and former member of the CAA Air Transport Users Council, you would think he would be using his experience to help Viable make a success of Plymouth Airport, instead of continually rubbishing their efforts and promoting Exeter Airport. I can only therefore ask, does he have a vested interest in the success of Exeter Airport for him to continually take this line? Frankly, if he's a Plymothian or lives in this city, I think he should be ashamed of himself.
Viable are no fools Mr Mitchell and have people within their team who are experts in their fields, with working expertise within the industry. They are more than aware of what they are up against thank you very much. People like you sitting on the sidelines carping is not doing Viable's cause any good, and believe that if you have no positive thoughts about Plymouth having its own airport back again, then I suggest politely you move to Exeter.
It does not matter one jot what you call Exeter Airport, as it will not make a scrap of difference to the wellbeing of this city. The A38 at Exeter was changed to Devon Expressway on somebody's whim, thinking that somehow it will promote Plymouth. Has it, not a bit, it's still the A38 and a dual carriageway still.
Doesn't Mr Mitchell understand, and he should if he is a transport analyst, that given Plymouth's terrible transport links, that Plymouth badly needs an airport to be able to attract the kind of people that leaders and businessmen in this city have been speaking about in these columns. It is pure fantasy as you well know, to expect people to bring in factories and businesses to Plymouth via Exeter Airport, as they would simply set it up in Exeter, and as they are already doing. You only have to look around the M5 to see all the work that is going on.
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I will say this Mr Mitchell and despite you being a transport analyst, that if the City of Plymouth does not get an upgrade in its transport systems, it will die, simple as that. By the time people have travelled to Exeter, they could have flown to London. Exeter is too far and too remote from Plymouth for it to function properly as Plymouth's airport.
Regarding numbers using Plymouth airport, only a short while ago, it was only Heathrow, and Plymouth that actually increased its passenger numbers, whereas Exeter was losing numbers. But as I have said repeatedly in this paper, it was not the amount of people using the airline, but actually where it went. Besides, the clause in SHH lease arrangement made the land more attractive than the airline. Besides, why would anyone shut down the most profitable routes such as Gatwick.
There are plenty of small regional airports doing very well. Southend, Carlisle, and others, all it takes is the will to do and the support of a good company and individuals. With respect to you, you do this city a disservice which we could well all do without.