Gordon Dewar: We want your vision on how to grow an airport

Edinburgh Airport is now the UKs fastest growing airport in terms of international passengers. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Edinburgh Airport is now the UKs fastest growing airport in terms of international passengers. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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‘Que sera sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see”, so the old song goes, but the future is ours to shape and the 2050 Edinburgh City Vision is a great chance for all of us in Scotland’s capital to focus on delivering a city that we can proudly pass on to our children and grandchildren.

The key themes emerging out of the 2050 Vision work to date include Edinburgh becoming more accessible for people from across the globe, developing equal opportunity for all of our citizens, continuing to celebrate our summer and winter festivals as well as protecting our city’s natural beauty and unrivalled green spaces. It presents a compelling vision to make Edinburgh the best city in the world.

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar

In seeking clarity of how we deliver this vision we can take inspiration from the past. From the great minds of James Craig and Alexander Graham Bell to recent developments making Edinburgh a global leader in life sciences, video game software and tourism, this city has a well-earned, great reputation. But in a world that never stands still it is vital that we stay ahead of the game and focus on the future.

As Scotland’s busiest airport it is incumbent upon us to make Edinburgh better connected. Greater airport capacity means more passengers and more passengers means greater spending here in Edinburgh.

The link between internationalisation and wealth creation is intrinsic and it is up to our governments to ensure the wealth we generate is more fairly distributed.

A successful city needs a successful airport and at Edinburgh Airport we are already doing the groundwork to enable successful delivery of a 2050 City Vision. The first part of that comes in the form of a an Airspace Change Programme (ACP).

The ACP is about the way in which Edinburgh Airport intends to grow, ensuring that it continues to be able to support Scotland’s economy and jobs in a safe and effective way.

We are making infrastructure upgrades on the ground and in the terminal but most urgently we are required to free up airspace to allow for more efficient departures from our runway. And while our preferred options allow growth for upwards of 30 years and would reduce aircraft noise for 25,000 people – as with all major infrastructure expansion plans, we recognise that not everyone agrees with our proposals.

The environment features prominently in the 2050 Vision findings – as it should be. But the wider debate on emissions and growth in the aviation industry need not be so polarised.

New technology is helping to reduce aviation emissions as well delivering noise reductions and improving safety. We will continue to work with Sustainable Aviation and others who want to make our city better connected and environmentally sustainable.

Last week Edinburgh Airport officially became the UK’s fastest growing airport in terms of international passengers. We are proud of this success but to continue improving and to enable greater numbers of people to come here in the future we need to grow.

With this in mind I would urge everyone to respond to our ACP consultation and give your view on how Edinburgh Airport can continue to deliver and, if you haven’t already done so, to the City Vision, sharing your thoughts on how we can all contribute to making Edinburgh a better place by 2050.

Gordon Dewar is chief executive of Edinburgh Airport