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BIBF Chairman calls for more long haul flights to and from East Midlands Airport

BIBF Chairman calls for more long haul flights to and from East Midlands Airport

East Midlands Airport (EMA) runs the UK’s largest dedicated air cargo operation, serving as a hub for logistics giants such as DHL, FedEx and UPS, but its passenger offering is mainly limited to short haul flights. This puts businesspeople and holidaymakers from the East Midlands who wish to visit countries outside of Europe at a disadvantage.

Now, the Chairman of the British Indian Business Forum (BIBF) is calling on carriers to consider running connecting flights from EMA to the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, the Far East and the US in a move which could benefit Asian and non-Asian communities alike in Derby, Nottingham, Leicester and Lincoln and boost the East Midlands’ economy as a whole.

Dr Sukhi Ghuman, Chairman and CEO of the award-winning multi-service Octavian Group, will spearhead a feasibility study which will gather opinion from across the East Midlands regarding the lack of such flights to and from EMA.

Connecting flights potentially operated by carriers such as Lufthansa Turkish Airlines and KLM would provide people in Derby, Nottingham, Leicester and Lincoln with more opportunities to take holidays, visit family and potentially do business in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, UAE, China and the United States.

With flights running both ways, this would also encourage more inward investment into the East Midlands and give the region’s tourist economy a welcome boost.

According to the 2011 census, 6.5% of the total population of the East Midlands identified as Asian, making Asian people by far the second largest ethnic group in the region. Only London, the West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber – all significantly larger regions – have bigger Asian populations. As such, Ghuman believes the benefits of expanding EMA’s passenger offering to include connections to the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, the Far East and beyond are plain to see.

He said:

“If people from Derby, Nottingham, Leicester and Lincoln wish to visit family, build business relationships or simply go on holiday to, say, the Indian Subcontinent, they have to travel to Birmingham, Manchester or London to catch a flight. This is both expensive and time-consuming, and considering how many Asian people live in the region, it simply doesn’t make sense.

“We also know that many non-Asians are keen to visit these countries.

“We’re very interested to find out how much enthusiasm there is for the idea of connecting flights to and from these locations and even to transatlantic destinations, specifically the US. We believe a majority will back the idea and we hope to gather enough signatures to convince the carriers to implement our proposals.

“Speaking personally, I would welcome the introduction of these flights with open arms. Octavian is a global business with offices in Nottingham, the US and UAE, and I am often on the move. This can be quite tiring and it certainly takes up a lot of time which could be used more profitably.

“Not having to travel halfway across the UK before even boarding a plane would be a welcome change. It would also make more economic sense from an East Midlands perspective, because all of the money being spent in and around other UK airports like Manchester and Birmingham would be spent here. If we factor in the likelihood that connecting flights to EMA would attract more business and investment to our region, it really would be a win-win situation.”

The petition calling for more long haul flights to and from EMA can be found here:

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