BOURNEMOUTH Airport could be “suffocated” if Heathrow is expanded, an MP has said.

Former Transport Secretary Justine Greening told the House of Commons yesterday that Bournemouth Airport, as well as Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle airports, would all have significantly fewer international flights by 2030 if Heathrow was allowed to develop a third runway.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, the Conservative MP for Putney said: “Is the Prime Minister aware that Birmingham Airport will have 15 per cent fewer international flights than otherwise, Manchester 11 per cent fewer, Newcastle 14 per cent fewer and Bournemouth over 40 per cent fewer international flights than otherwise by 2030 as a result of Heathrow expansion?

“And how does it help investment in our regions by suffocating the regional airports’ growth?”

Ms Greening, whose constituency lies under the Heathrow flight path, opposes the plan, on which MPs are soon expected to vote.

Theresa May defended the proposal and insisted people in Newquay had welcomed the news during a recent visit she made to Cornwall.

She said: “Can I perhaps just tell her one anecdote? When we made the first announcement on the in-principle decision on the third runway at Heathrow, I went down to Cornwall and I visited Newquay. I say to (Ms Greening) that in Newquay they were very pleased and welcomed the announcement because of the ability it was going to give them to improve their local economy and expand particularly their tourist industry.”

The Echo was told the airport “isn’t immediately available for comment” on the issue.

Bournemouth Airport is part of Regional and City Airports, having been acquired by Rigby Group plc in December.

In March the firm unveiled its schedule for the year, with flights to 25 destinations, including a range of new short breaks to destinations such as Iceland and Madeira, and a full programme of winter sunshine destinations with regular flights to Geneva for ski enthusiasts.

The firm also runs Norwich, Exeter, and Coventry Airports, as well as contracts to operate Solent, City of Derry and Blackpool Airports, and says Bournemouth offers passengers in the south “a highly credible alternative to the major London airports”.