Airport set for take off!

Transport really is making the headlines recently, now with the news that Aberdeen City councillors have approved the 300-metre runway extension at Aberdeen Airport. This clears the way for a massive redevelopment of the airport to allow it to take transatlantic flights and possibly even jumbo jets.

The importance of hosting more international links cannot be underestimated. There is still almost as much oil to come out of the North Sea has already been extracted over the past four decades, but production figures are inevitably shrinking each year. What is growing is the amount of international business that is done in Aberdeen.

There are now 300 international energy businesses based in Aberdeen. Aberdeen companies and subsidiaries of Aberdeen companies are doing something like £3.6 billion of business a year overseas.

Anything that makes the connections between Aberdeen and other oil areas of the world that much more efficient, has to be good for the economy. Direct air links between Aberdeen and our energy twin cities, like Houston, has to be a potentially huge benefit.

But it's not just for the oil and gas business that direct links to the USA are going to be important.

If Donald Trump's plans for the "best golf course in the world" just north of Aberdeen come true, the full potential for the local economy will be more easily realised if patrons can fly directly into Aberdeen, without having to change planes in London, Paris, or Amsterdam.

It's nice to see transport developments finally making the news. Aberdeen's history is closely tied to its transport infrastructure. The development of the harbour led to centuries of trade with the Low Countries. The combination of airport and harbour encouraged the oil industry to choose Aberdeen as its main European base.

During the second half of the 20th Century and the opening years of the 21st, Aberdeen City and Shire's future prosperity has been compromised by a transport infrastructure in which some key elements (like the Bridge of Dee!) date back to mediaeval times.

Are we about to see some catching up for lost time? Let's hope so.
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