Three extra flights a day as expansion plans for Luton Airport get the go ahead

The airport will accommodate 19million passengers a year

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 11:25 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 11:26 am

An average of three extra flights a day will result from planning approval for London Luton Airport to accommodate 19 million passengers a year, a meeting heard.

Applicant London Luton Airport Operations Limited’s (LLAOL) has been granted permission to vary conditions on passenger capacity, noise contours, parking management and a travel plan from a 2017 application.

The borough council’s development management committee met on consecutive evenings before agreeing to support the proposals by seven votes to two, along political lines.

Council chamber

Andrew Lambourne, of LADACAN, (Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) referred to 724 extra homes being brought into ‘significant adverse impact’.

“One million passengers either way isn’t going to make or break the local economy,” he explained.

“The noise consultant admits the information is confusing. We’ve identified obvious errors within it.

“There is risk with the agenda for the airport now being set by its dominant airline Whizz Air.

“This application has attracted massive opposition from local communities, with nearly 1,000 people taking the trouble to register their reasons why they don’t want their quality of life to be degraded further.”

Around 20 objectors told the committee, over the two days, why they oppose the plans, most representing interested groups or residents organisations living nearby.

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“It will safeguard and provide jobs for the local and wider economy. It will strengthen vital transport links for businesses and individuals regionally and with the rest of the world.

“And it will continue to be a cornerstone of the local and regional economy delivering benefits for residents, businesses and passengers, as well as reassuring airlines there’s space for them to grow and accommodate new routes.

“Without this Luton Airport is in danger of losing out to those London airports which do have capacity.

“The airport is one of the largest employers in the region, with more than 10,000 directly employed in 2019 and another 18,000 in the supply chain.

“Without this change London Luton Airport will be at a significant disadvantage in its recovery compared to other airports.

“At Luton passenger numbers dropped by 72 per cent from 18 million in 2019 to 5.4 million in 2020. This is precisely why we need to act now,” he added.

“Much has changed since the council granted permission for 18 million passengers in 2014.

“Halfway through the current concession period to 2032 and post-pandemic it’s absolutely the right time to refresh and update what the future looks like for the airport.”

New aircraft with next generation engines represented one in ten in 2019, according to Mr Monsalvo, who promised this will increase to one in two before 2028.

Liberal Democrat councillors Lee Bridgen and Amjid Ali voted against approving the application.

Crawley ward councillor Brigden said: “I shared those concerns around increased noise.

“While that’s been mitigated over confirmation about insulation funds being available, I’m still not completely convinced this resolves the issue and the significant impact this could have on those properties.

“I understand the importance of the increase in passenger numbers and the importance of the airport to the local area and its economy.

“But this does have to be offset by the environmental and financial impacts the long-term environment and climate issues could have on the locality.”