Luton airport operator launches expansion bid

Aaron Morby 10 years ago
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The operator of Luton Airport has released a masterplan setting out a 15-year expansion plan to help ease air traffic congestion in the south east.

The new plan aims to turn Luton into ‘London’s Local Airport’ through improved transport links.

The masterplan differs significantly from the one tabled by Luton Council in January, which proposes improvements to increase capacity to 18m passengers per year by 2020 and 30m beyond that.

The airport is operated under contract with the council which lasts until 2028, but there is a break clause in 2014. This has led to speculation the council could end its contract with the Spanish operator Albertis if it did not agree to the expansion plans.

Steve Heappey, lead officer of London Luton Airport Limited, which owns the airport on behalf of the council, said: “We will be reviewing the proposals from the existing operator, which have now been announced.

“Our consultation launched in February is open until 26 March and we seek and welcome comments, questions and feedback on our proposal to grow London Luton Airport and the benefits that this will bring to Luton and the region.”

The latest plan provides just over 13,264 sqm of additional floorspace, including plans for additional retail areas.

In terms of surface access, the plan proposes the construction of a dual two-lane 7.3m wide carriageway leading up to the terminal.

Proposed development

  • Improvements to the terminal building through the construction of a new pier, and a new layout which can be achieved through minor extension works that won’t disrupt the running of the airport
  • Extending the taxiway 500m to increase the number of aircraft movements, creating new aircraft stands, and upgrading existing ones
  • Constructing two new traffic lanes to the south of “Airport Way”, leading into a newly created set down system in the Central Terminal Area, which will ease congestion and manage growth in the future.

Glyn Jones, managing director of London Luton, said, “The Mayor of London has proposed a new hub in the Thames Estuary to deal with the constraints on medium and long haul aviation capacity in London and the South East.

“Today we have outlined a credible and realistic plan that, if approved, will put Luton at the heart of solving the burden on point-to-point short haul operators who want to grow.”

Jones said the operating company expects to submit a planning application in the spring.

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