Airport growth to boost funds
A planned expansion of Luton Airport could bring an extra £220 million a year into the local economy, according to airport bosses.
London Luton Airport Operations Limited (LLAOL) is to submit its formal bid to increase passenger numbers from its current 10 million a year to 18 million in November and has received the backing of Luton-based budget airline easyJet and Luton South MP Gavin Shuker.
The plans will create 4,500 new jobs.
Airport managing director Glyn Jones told the Luton News: “You can either go forward or backward. But you can’t go forward by staying the same. We owe this expansion to the town.”
The proposals, which are subject to a public consultation which runs until October 12, will see the terminal refurbished and expanded, additional taxiway and parking for aircraft and a multi-storey car park on part of the current short-term car park.
Mr Jones said that expanding the airport will improve the ‘customer experience’ for passengers with plans to improve existing road access – the airport approach way will become a dual carriageway and benefit from a £20 million scheme to improve nearby junction 10a – proposals to improve public transport to and from the terminal, increase passenger seating areas and the number of baggage reclaims and security lanes.
Capacity will be increased without an extra or extended runway.
The ‘masterplan’ is a revision of earlier proposals set out by LLAOL back in March, rivalling plans to increase capacity drawn up by the airport owners London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL).
But the two parties are now wholly behind the new joint plan says Mr Jones.
He said: “This is a proposal by the airport operating company but it is fully supported by the council – you couldn’t get a cigarette paper between us.”
The proposals have attracted much controversy since they first hit the headlines back in January with protest groups such as HALE and Ladacan voicing their anger over the plans.
But Mr Jones was sympathetic to their views and urged any interested parties to contribute to the current consultation period.
He said: “The big issue is aircraft noise. I understand all of the concerns and it is legitimate for people to raise them.
“This is a consultation process. We want as many views as we can get represented in this process, we’re running lots of events and we want people to contribute.”
To combat an excessive increase in noise, the airport has taken six steps to limit aircraft noise including ammending the government approved Noise Action Plan and updating its Night Noise Policy.
The masterplan received the full backing of easyJet commercial manager Hugh Aitken and Luton South MP Gavin Shuker who said: “This is the first double-dip recession for 37 years and there’s not much prospect of us coming out of it anytime soon so we’ve got to take the local economy very seriously.
“Luton Airport and the connected businesses are a massive part of our local economy and we need to safeguard that. There’s a lot of talk about a third runway at Heathrow but not much talk of other airports but Luton is well placed to provide extra capacity with no extra runway.
“It’s right to be doing this now.”
> For more information on the airport expansion and the consultation period log onto www.london-luton.co.uk/masterplan.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Luton
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 4 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west