Leeds Bradford Airport and Job Creation Claims

 

Supporters of Leeds Bradford Airport expansion often suggest that expansion would ‘create’ over 12,000 jobs. This is false, even just using LBA’s own figures. LBA’s planning application clearly states that they forecast the net number of newly created full time jobs by 2030 to be 1,810 in Leeds and 2,310 in the Leeds City Region. The 12,000 figure relates to a forecast of the total number of jobs ‘supported’ by the airport by 2030 if expansion goes ahead. ‘Supported’ means something very different from ‘created’. ‘Supported’ is the total number of jobs that LBA claims would be directly or indirectly dependant on an expanded airport. ‘Created’ means new jobs that would exist as a result of expansion going ahead if the planning application is approved. GALBA believes the numbers are a significant overestimate – by about 30%. Here’s some more detail.

 

LBA’s planning application includes an Environmental Statement. In volume 2, para 6.25 of the Socio-Economic appendix states: “In terms of employment, by 2030, the With Development Scenario* supports 2,160 additional net jobs (1,810 FTEs*) compared to the Without Development Scenario* in Leeds and 2,820 additional net jobs (2,310 FTEs) across the whole Leeds City Region.”

 

  • With Development = expansion going ahead if the planning application being allowed

  • Without Development = what would happen anyway, if the planning application is refused

  • FTEs = full time equivalent jobs

 

This is repeated in Chapter 11: Socio-Economics of the Environmental Statement (volume 1) at para 11.7.28:

“Following the application of the displacement effects, the net impact on ... employment in 2030 is:

  • … in Leeds ... The net employment impact was estimated to be 1,420 economic footprint jobs (1,240 FTEs) and 740 wider impact jobs (570 FTEs). A total of 2,160 jobs (1,810 FTEs);

  • … in the Leeds City Region … The net employment impact was estimated to be 1,630 economic footprint jobs (1,380 FTEs) and 1,190 wider impact jobs (930 FTEs). A total of 2,820 jobs (2,310 FTEs).”

 

GALBA disputes LBA’s job creation forecasts. An independent report by the New Economics Foundation highlighted the strategy of automation in LBA’s Master Plan - ie replacing staff with technology and self service (eg self check-in). The NEF report also highlighted wider trends in the aviation sector’s ‘job intensity’ levels - ie as airports grow larger there are fewer jobs per passenger because of the opportunity to achieve economies of scale. Yet LBA forecasts that its job intensity would go in the opposite direction after expansion, with more jobs per passenger - this is not credible. Overall, NEF estimated that LBA had overestimated its job creation forecasts by 33%. While the NEF report was criticised by Volterra Consultants, some of NEF’s key analysis of the economic impact of expansion has not been overturned.

 

Whether the NEF critique is accepted or not, the claim that LBA expansion would ‘create’ over 12,000 new jobs is simply not true. So please challenge that claim whenever it is made because it is misleading.