Birmingham airport expansion plans: how do they measure up?


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The Independent Online

Birmingham Airport has proposed changes which could boost capacity of the airport by up to 70 million long term. But just how does this match up with the world's other major airports?

Birmingham's current capacity isn't anywhere near the level of the 30 biggest airports as decided by total passenger traffic. At just under 10 million, it has a long way to go to displace Munich in Germany which is currently sitting in 30th place with passenger traffic of just over 38 million according to preliminary figures for 2012 from the Airports Council International body, the worldwide association of airports, which collates global information.

Even with the addition of the new runway, taking capacity up to 27 million, it would still not be enough to crack the list. However cities such as Amsterdam and Franfurt, which are smaller than Birmingham do offer hope, with passenger numbers of 57 million in the German city to place it 11th on the list and just over 51 million in the Dutch city, to place 16th - just ahead of New York JFK on 49 million.

The fact that London Heathrow is one of the world's largest airports is no surprose, the only UK airport to make the list. Having 70 million passengers go through it each yaer is enough for third place on the list, behind Beijing in China with almost 82 million passengers, while Altanta, Georgia in the United States sits atop the list with a staggering 95 million passengers.

Other big European cities in the list include Paris, in seventh, with 61 million passengers and Madrid in 19th with 45 million passengers.

The one area in which Heathrow does not sit so highly is the number of take-offs and landings at the airport. It sits at 12th on the list with just over 475,000. The top three are all aurports in America with Atlanta having over 930,000, Chicago is in second with 878,000 and Dallas in third with 650,000.