Ian Lucas MP has spoken in Parliament about the importance of maintaining strong public transport links between Wrexham and the two major airports in the North West of England.
Mr Lucas raised the issue with the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, during a Commons debate on how the proposed expansion of London Heathrow Airport might benefit Wales.
The Labour MP for Wrexham pointed out how important Liverpool and Manchester airports were to people in the town and the wider North Wales region, saying he did not want to see them ‘relegated to a position behind Heathrow on the issue of service access’.
The Secretary of State said it was an ‘important point’, adding that 15% of new landing slots following the expansion would go to linking London with regional airports, with Liverpool and Manchester to ‘benefit significantly’.
Mr Lucas’ work as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the North Wales, Mersey and Dee regions helped secure a rail link running between Chester and Manchester Airport, making it easier for people in Wrexham to travel there by train. An easyBus service now also runs from Wrexham to both Manchester and Liverpool airports, while the Mersey Gateway Bridge has improved access for people travelling by road to Liverpool.
Liverpool John Lennon Airport served 185,000 passengers from North Wales in 2017, while figures released by Manchester Airport in 2016 showed they served more than a million passengers from the region, including 156,021 from Wrexham alone.
Mr Lucas said: “All links which allow people in North Wales to get to airports on public transport are vitally important. Big improvements have been made in recent years and I want to see this good work continue, which is why I raised the issue in Parliament on behalf of my constituents.
“I don’t want all the focus to shift to Heathrow.
“More links between North Wales and the airports in the North West of England would spell good news for the people of Wrexham, who use bothairports in their thousands whether it be for holidays, business or as exporters.”
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Earlier this year, Mr Lucas visited Manchester Airport to find out more about their investment plans. He also recently met Mark Povall, strategy director of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, to learn about their own expansion plans and discuss the importance of the North Wales region.
Mr Povall said: “It was very useful to be able to host Ian and to highlight the importance of Wrexham and North Wales as a whole for Liverpool John Lennon Airport. With direct flights to more than 60 destinations and improved road and rail transport connections, the airport is now more accessible for Wrexham residents and businesses.”
“We agreed to keep in close contact,” added Mr Lucas, who is also hoping to meet bosses from KeolisAmey to find out more about the company’s plans for the Wales and Border rail franchise which they are due to take over from October.