Plans submitted for Luton Airport to increase annual passengers from 18m to 19m

A planning application has been submitted for Luton Airport to increase its annual passenger number from 18m per year to 19m.

Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 5:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st January 2021, 4:26 pm

The airport's operating company, London Luton Airport Operating Ltd (LLAOL), has submitted its application to Luton Borough Council in order to vary planning conditions laid out in 2014, which capped annual passengers at 18m.

LLAOL insists its target will be achieved without any changes to infrastructure, by instead using larger aircraft and increasing passenger numbers during non-peak times of the year.

The company is also seeking to reduce noise conditions both day and night, to reflect "a slower than anticipated" introduction by airlines of the next generation of quieter aircraft.

Luton Airport

Other variations include an updated car parking management plan, travel plan and approved plans and documents.

A planning statement prepared by agents Wood Group UK stated: "London Luton Airport has grown steadily over the past 20 years and has recently experienced 10 years of successive growth between 2010 and 2019.

"During this period, passenger numbers increased from approximately 8.8m per year to 18m (circa 105% increase), and the passenger numbers increased by more than 1m each year on average over the last three years from 2017 to 2019.

"It is anticipated that London Luton Airport will recover swiftly from the temporary implications of Covid-19 for travel restrictions."

A public consultation over the proposal ended in November last year, with the environmental impact cited as one of the respondents' biggest concerns.

On this point, Wood Group UK stated that the scheme was "unlikely to materially affect the ability of the UK Government to meet its carbon targets for net zero in 2050" on the basis that a carbon reduction plan is produced.

A decision on this application is expected to be reached by April 12.

Luton Borough Council is the majority shareholder of the airport's owner, London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL). LLAL had originally sought to more than double the airport's capacity to 38m annual passengers by 2050, with plans due to be submitted to the government in June 2020. This proposal was shelved following the Heathrow judgement and the coronavirus pandemic.

LLAL subsequently announced revised plans to make the airport "the most sustainable in the UK" with an end target of £32m passengers by 2050, instead of 38m.