Calls for better airport provision for businesses in Cambridgeshire to help boost the region’s economy

Cllr Chris Boden

Cllr Chris Boden - Credit: Archant

Councillors have called for better investment to make sure businesses relying on moving employees and partners around in private jets are not put off coming to the region.

Speaking at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s overview and scrutiny committee today (June 26), Cllr Chris Boden, Conservative, said he thought Stansted airport provided good international links for companies in the south of the county, but noted that businesses in the north had less reliable provision.

Cllr Boden said: “There is a need for businesses and business people to be travelling in by air, and a lot of them are coming in via Stansted. We’re talking about people who may be commuting in for one day.

“I’m not saying we should build a huge new airport right in the middle of Cambridgeshire. But when it comes to people coming in for a day, having a business airport facility is extremely helpful. We are talking about charter flights and private jets.”

Others noted that many businesses relied on getting people around on private jets, with some saying more investment in the existing airport in Cambridge might be a “sensible” idea.

Conservative Cllr Mike Bradley said: “Many businesses rely on corporate planes, and maybe promoting Cambridge airport more is a sensible thing for us to do.”

Cllr Bradley said, however, that businesses outside the city may have a harder time making use of Cambridge’s airport facilities due to the traffic.

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“It is a nightmare to get into Cambridge,” he added.

But James Palmer, mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, defended the existing airport facilities at Stansted, saying it already provided great international services to the area.

He said building a new aiport would be “tricky”, and added that better roads and rail links would be needed to get people from the airport into the county more easily.

Mr Palmer said: “Stansted is a brilliant international airport. If we are to have a world-class economy, we need to have an international airport that can serve the whole area.

“I think planning permission to move airports can be quite tricky. We already have a great airport. We do need to improve the railway links to feed into the network from the airport.”