Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton has praised Southampton Airport for its impact on the local economy, helping businesses of all sizes across Hampshire prosper and grow. Currently the airport is worth over £100m to the local economy each year, with 1000 members of staff working for around 30 different companies based at the site.
Mr Thornton, who recently visited the airport to be briefed on its latest developments, said that he was impressed with the airport's professional operation, its support for tourism in the area, and its link-ups with businesses, such as B&Q in Eastleigh.
During his visit to the airport, just outside Eastleigh, Mr Thornton had discussions with Managing Director Dave Lees and Director of Marketing Jan Halliday (pictured) about how the operation can continue to thrive, looking at infrastructure improvements and the airport's ambition to develop more routes to key economic destinations across Europe.
Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton (pictured here in one of the airport's new fire trucks) said:
"Southampton Airport is absolutely key to future growth in our part of the world, and is already worth over £100m to the local economy each year. Thousands of companies across the region depend on the airport, from IBM's HQ outside Portsmouth, to the BBC in Southampton, to business based at the expanding Port of Southampton.
"Residents here in Eastleigh are proud to have such a well run airport in the borough, acting as the gateway to Europe, the rest of the UK, and beyond. Over the next few months and years, with support from local businesses, government and other organisations, there are real opportunities at the site, that could help facilitate £millions more pumped into the local economy.
"Expansion of the routes on offer to customers, more investment in road and rail - like the £4.9 million M27 Junction 5 improvements on the way in 2014 - and taking full advantage of Hampshire's potential as a prime tourist hotspot: these things could make all the difference for the airport, and the economic future of our county."
Managing Director of Southampton Airport Dave Lees said:
"We were delighted to welcome Mr Thornton to the airport and reassured to hear how he shares our vision for supporting the growth of local business and tourism.
"Supporting calls for improved infrastructure in the region, such as the need for improved rail links between the airport and Portsmouth is a priority for the airport and would be a massive boost for inbound tourism and businesses alike. We are always looking for opportunities to develop routes into key cities across Europe and are delighted that Mr Thornton shares our desire to help the local region be as economically competitive as possible."