Lichfield-based family travel agency RB Collection has marked its 30th anniversary by unveiling a joint venture with the Bryan family of Tamworth to open the West Midlands’ newest airport.
Planning has been taking place in secret all winter to create a new facility – Sodor Airport – to service the increased demand from those living in the region and surrounding areas.
RB Collection managing director Alan Broad said that he and Colin Bryan, chief executive of Drayton Manor Theme Park which celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, were “childhood friends” and that it was “fitting we should celebrate our 30th and 65th anniversary years with such an exciting new venture”.
The pair estimate that 50,000 passengers will travel through Sodor Airport in the first 12 months of operation.
Broad added: “It's exciting that on this day, when we celebrate 30 years of arranging unique and special holidays all over the world, that we should announce this ambitious yet fitting project.
“Never in all my travel career would I have thought that a family business such as ours would be involved in a new airport and it just shows how forward thinking and exciting the travel industry really is. I'm hugely grateful to the Bryan family for allowing us to partner on this exciting project.”
Sodor Airport will commence direct flights on April 8 with an estimated 12 an hour.
The aircraft chosen to fly from the airport has been named ‘Jeremy’ and it will handle an average of 2,808 passengers per day.
Facilities at the airport include an Art Deco coffee shop as well as private rooms available for hire, on a daily, morning or afternoon basis with full buffet catering facilities - ideal for pre-flight meetings and rest before take-off.
Bryan said: “The West Midlands has shown significant growth in the last few years and Sodor Airport is a reaction to this extra demand for air passenger growth.”
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