A. There is a rational case to be made for Southampton having a small regional airport:
- The Channel Islands need an airlink to the mainland.
- Some people need to use the airport for business – although a decreasing number of journeys are for business (under 30%).
- A small number of people have no alternative means of visiting family and friends.
B. However there is no rational case for expanding the airport:
- Expansion would speed Climate Change by aircraft releasing an average of 350,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.
- Traffic and aviation noise for local people would be much increased to dangerous levels.
- 70% of journeys are outbound* which means that money is spent outside the region and none of it now returns from EU destinations.
C. If the business model that SOU chooses to use cannot sustain Southampton airport in its current form, its aviation activities should be downsized and the land thus freed used to create a greater number and broader range of jobs than currently offered by the airport. Possibilities include:
- A science park prioritising renewable energy research, including a solar farm.
- An R.J. Mitchell and Spitfire heritage centre.
- An extended Itchen Valley Country Park and Education centre.
*70% of people started their journey in Southampton – even if they were on their return leg when surveyed. Conversely, only 30% were using Southampton as a destination or to use the airport to return ‘home’ .