HISTORY was made at Birmingham Airport on Tuesday (July 22) as the first ever flight touched down on its newly extended runway.
The runway extension, completed in May, provides airlines with unlimited take off range, allowing jets to fly direct to far flung destinations.
And the first long-haul flight to land on the new runway was a direct flight from China – also the first time a flight from China has landed at a non-London airport.
Tourism Minister Helen Grant MP, the Government’s Aviation spokesperson in the House of Lords Lord Popat of Harrow and local dignitaries visited the Airport to celebrate the historic flight and to congratulate Birmingham Airport.
“This is a historic day for Birmingham, and indeed the Midlands region. Never before has a commercial airliner touched down on a runway outside of the Capital from China and we are enormously proud to be the first to make this happen,” said Paul Kehoe, the Airport’s Chief Executive.
“We have invested more than £200m in recent years to create an airport that can accommodate more traffic, particularly to and from long-haul markets, and today we saw the first use of our runway extension for what it was intended: to provide direct global connectivity from the Midlands.”
Other VIPs welcoming the service at the airport included the Lord Lieutenant for the West Midlands, The Lord Mayor of Birmingham and The Mayor of Solihull, as well as representatives from the Airport and Midlands’ Chinese community.
2014 is a year of milestones for Birmingham Airport as it also celebrated its 75th anniversary on July 8.
During this period, it has welcomed more than 200 million passengers through its doors.
Mayor of Solihull Kate Wild, Lord Popat of Harrow, the Government’s aviation spokesperson in the House of Lords, Lord-Lieutenant for the West Midlands Paul Sabapathy CBE, Vice-President of Caissa Mr Ren Jun, Birmingham Airport CEO Paul Kehoe and Lord Mayor of Birmingham Councillor Shafique Shah.
Left: Passengers from China arrive at Birmingham Airport.
Below: Vice-President of Caissa (the airline making the inaugural flight) Mr Ren Jun with Birmingham Airport CEO Paul Kehoe. s