East Midland Airport (EMA) have reported a steady increase in passengers numbers this summer, with 80, 000 passengers passing through the airport in July alone, helped by the lack of sunny conditions in the UK this year.Having recently added Jamaica to their route network, Penny Coates, Managing Director, East Midland Airport, tells BTN about EMA’s plans to continue expanding its long-haul portfolio, whilst aiming to become carbon neutral by 2012.
BTN: Do you have the infrastructure in place to deal with continued growth?
PC: Yes we do; all of our development up to the period of 2016 will be accommodated within the existing boundaries of the airport site and will be conducted in a sustainable manner as passenger growth occurs.
BTN: How has the British weather been affecting business this summer? Have you noticed any trends emerging as a result?
PC: Coupled with the school holidays and the recent wet weather, East Midlands Airport has seen an increase in weekend trends. Over the period of 27-30 July for example, we had approx 80,000 passengers coming and going from EMA, an 11% increase to the same time last year.
BTN: How has the launch of the new Jamaica route been received? Which other new destinations can we expect to see?
We promoted the Jamaica with Airtours and the Jamaican tourist board and I don’t know if it was my limbo skills or the Jamaican food we had on offer but we were sold out for July and so far in August, we are 80% committed!
We are working hard with our airlines and operators to attract exciting destinations from EMA for our customers and we would certainly welcome an increased portfolio of long haul destinations in the future.
BTN: How has the Web-tracking tool been received?
PC: We were the first Airport in Europe to offer the on-line facility, which allows the public to see the movement of aircraft within a thirty mile radius of the airport. That means they can see those that are associated with EMA and those that are not. Since the launch in 2006, WebTrak has continued to be a popular resource. On average, there are 165 visitors to our site every day, highlighting the importance of continued engagement with local communities and being open and honest about what we do.
BTN: How are you tackling rising environmental concern regarding carbon emissions and the aviation industry? What measures are you taking to become carbon neutral by 2012?
BTN: As part of Manchester Airports Group, we are focused on making our operations carbon neutral. EMA was the first UK airport to be certified to the international environmental standard ISO14001, which demonstrates our commitment to operating to the highest environmental standards.
We will become carbon neutral by ensuring that the things we have control over on the ground - our buildings and operations - are as energy efficient as possible. For example, we already purchase 20% of our energy from renewable sources and we are investing in generating heat from the ground.
As far as the global impact is concerned, while aviation’s carbon footprint is growing, its contribution still only accounts for just 2% of global emissions and 6% of UK emissions. This is less than international shipping which is 5% and growing, and well behind other sectors such as the international cement industry. That’s not to say that aviation should not continue to play its part in further reducing its impact but it’s vital that the other 94% of UK emissions must also be addressed.
BTN: Do you have any new projects / infrastructural developments at EMA in the pipeline that you can comment on?
PC: We have recently opened our new “environmentally friendly” pier which has an additional six gates allowing for further capacity as we develop. Our new £10million pound terminal redevelopment has also recently been completed which allows greater ease for our customer travelling to and from the Airport.