As the UK Airports Commission announces it has shortlisted new runways at London Heathrow and Gatwick for closer consideration for expanding UK airport capacity, but that no new runway would be expected before 2030, David Lister, London Southend Airport’s Operations Director, has called on the Airports Commission and the UK Department of Transport, charged with implementing the interim recommendations, not to forget what the Essex airport has to offer.
He said “With no new runways proposed before 2030 and the opening in January 2014 of London Southend’s extended terminal, the culmination of over £120 million investment, London Southend Airport is in the unique position to provide travellers to and from London, the ‘simply easier’ travelling experience,” he said. “Our investment demonstrates the significant capacity that now exists at London Southend and we can make a real difference to the congestion issues faced across the other London airports.”
Over £120 million has been invested in London Southend Airport since it was acquired by the Stobart Group in 2008, with more than 500 new jobs created on site. New facilities include a train station on the London Liverpool Street (just 53 minutes into the heart of the City via Stratford with up to eight trains each hour) just 100 paces from the terminal building, a runway extension, Air Traffic Control Tower, and Holiday Inn hotel.
“London Southend Airport is a perfect example of private sector investment working in partnership with Government to create a transport infrastructure that includes not just aircraft, but also connectivity with trains,” he added.
To support this rapid growth, five additional aircraft stands have now been completed and significantly increase the airport’s capacity, plus a £10 million extension to the terminal is scheduled to open in early 2014. “This extension is to ensure the unique high standards of service that passengers currently can only enjoy at London Southend Airport and why research shows they keep coming back – a maximum four-minute wait for security and when arriving with just hand luggage travelling from plane to train within just 15 minutes of the aircraft doors opening – are not compromised as passenger numbers continue to grow.”
A new dual-channel radar has also now entered service, significantly improving radar coverage and making London Southend and the South East even more safe and secure. The multi-million pound ATCR-33SE from Selex is the most advanced radar of its type in the UK and is fully compatible with 4G. London Southend is the first airport to install it, and acted as a test bed for the new technologies.