A HONLEY firm has welcomed the launch of a new airport for Yorkshire.

But business leaders in the region said better road links were also needed to ensure Doncaster's Robin Hood Airport reaches its full potential.

Employers' body the Forum of Private Business said the new airport at the former RAF Finningley would benefit the regional economy.

It said import and export companies were particularly enthusiastic about the opening of the airport, due next month.

Robin Hood will be the third closest major airport to Huddersfield after Leeds-Bradford and Manchester.

Dr John Dickinson, managing director, of medical equipment firm Norwood Instruments, in Honley, said: "At present, a lot of our stuff is routed via the south-east.

"This means we had to pay the costs of the south-east congestion."

Dr Dickinson said the £80m airport would benefit manufacturers in the region by reducing the number of large wagons to Europe via the south-east ports.

He said many firms in West Yorkshire used Manchester Airport, but added: "It takes a good hour to get there - longer if the motorway is congested.

"If there were sensible connections to the M1, then for this area Robin Hood could become the airport of choice."

FPB Yorkshire spokesman Brian Morris said bosses were strongly in favour of the airport.

"The level of enthusiasm we have encountered for the airport speaks volumes for the benefits it would bring to business in the region," he said.

"Unless the road system surrounding the airport is upgraded, the potential benefits may not be realised to their full extent."