LEEDS Bradford Airport’s new terminal plans will deliver a ‘significant boost to the region’.

That is what the airport (LBA) is claiming following an independent peer review of two economic reports that have been submitted about its planned expansion.

As recently reported, the New Economics Foundation (NEF) report concluded that the expansion could cost the Leeds City Region up to £3.1 billion in ‘lost economic activity’ by 2050.

That report also claimed that the airport had overestimated the jobs that would be created by more than a third.

A different report by York Aviation however, for LBA, paints a much more positive picture of the expanded airport’s impact.

Volterra Partners LLP were commissioned by Leeds City Council to scrutinise both documents and have now published their findings.

They conclude that in terms of costs and benefits the likely impact of the expansion ‘would be overwhelmingly positive when economic and social welfare impacts are considered together’: estimating that the net benefits to the Leeds City Region would amount to £1.574 billion between 2024 and 2050.

The report goes on to broadly support York Aviation’s estimated - direct - job creation figures, which say the expansion would lead to 100 new jobs at the Leeds level and another 150 additional jobs within the Leeds City Region.

It states: “York Aviation’s estimate of direct employment is considered to be accurate, and is therefore not discounted by 33 per cent.”

The Volterra document, while acknowledging that ‘NEF consulting put forward some valid arguments in their rebuke of the proposed expansion of LBA’, also questions the methodology behind one of the NEF’s main claims - concerning outbound tourism costs.

It says: “This peer review has concluded that the simplistic estimate of outbound tourism losses likely does not truly reflect the net impact.”

A spokesperson for Leeds Bradford Airport said: “We’re pleased that the findings of this independent report robustly back up the airport’s position, and contest the misinformation that is being circulated by opponents to the application.

“The experts have been clear on the economic case for a replacement terminal at LBA. If approved, it will generate long term, skilled jobs, a significant boost to the region and sustainable long-term prosperity.

“Although short term challenges as a result of the global pandemic have impacted the aviation sector, there is a clear long term case for the development of LBA.”

The Volterra report also backs York Aviation’s estimates for how quickly the airport might recover from the impact of COVID-19, with a ‘bounce back’ to pre-Covid levels expected by 2023’.