TRANSPORT bosses are pressing ahead with a project designed to ease ground-level travel hassle for people using Leeds Bradford Airport.
Plans for a study of potential ways to provide better road and rail access to the airport were originally unveiled by ministers last summer.
Now the Department for Transport (DfT) has revealed that it is driving the work forward and aims to have it finished by the end of the year.
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “Improving access to Leeds Bradford Airport is a long-running issue and I hope this study will be the key that unlocks real progress on the ground.
“Regional airports play an important role across the UK, providing domestic and international connections and making a vital contribution to local growth.
“I want to see this airport reach its full potential with the transport links it deserves.”
The DfT said that, during the study, it would be examining previous proposals for improved connections to Leeds Bradford and also consulting city stakeholders.
Local councils and West Yorkshire passenger transport authority Metro last year floated the idea of a new single carriageway access road to the site, with junctions on the A65 and A658.
An airport expansion masterplan released as far back as 2005, meanwhile, made the case for a purpose-built rail link running between the existing Wharfedale and Harrogate lines, near Guiseley and Horsforth respectively. Another option put forward has been the creation of a new train station – provisionally called Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway – near the Bramhope Tunnel between Horsforth and Weeton.
Harrogate Chamber of Commerce has in the past also called for better links between the airport and communities in North Yorkshire.
Leeds City Council leader Coun Keith Wakefield yesterday told the Yorkshire Evening Post that the authority was already working closely with the airport and other partners to try to improve access to the site.
Coun Wakefield described the airport as a “vital part” of the city’s infrastructure.
Concerns have been voiced in recent times that Leeds Bradford’s relatively hard-to-reach location in Yeadon could hamper its growth.
There have even been suggestions from some quarters that a brand new airport could be constructed – possibly on land around the M1 and A1 – to link with the country’s proposed HS2 high-speed rail system.
But, speaking earlier this year, Leeds Bradford aviation development and marketing director Tony Hallwood said that the current site was able to meet the long-term needs of air travel in Yorkshire.