Airline bidding to double number of passengers at Luton Airport

An Easyjet plane takes off from Luton Airport

An Easyjet plane takes off from Luton Airport - Credit: Archant

An announcement by easyJet that it wants to more than double the number of passengers it flies at Luton Airport to nine million a year has been criticised by campaigners in St Albans.

On Monday one of the UK’s largest airlines said it had agreed a new 10-year deal with Luton.

However the agreement has been scoffed at by Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion (HALE) which has been fighting against the proposed major expansion of the airport.

Co-founder of the campaign group, Andrew Lambourne, of Flamstead, said: “As we know, the expansion plans at Luton Airport are currently on hold pending a decision by the Secretary of State as to whether to call in the airport’s planning application or not. People living close to airports are affected by increased noise if expansion plans such as this go ahead, and airlines must factor them into their thinking.

“Before adding yet more flights, we’d like to hear easyJet commit to a clear timetable for introduction of quieter aircraft types and engines at Luton Airport, particularly since we already know they plan to switch from Airbus A319s to the larger, heavier and currently noisier A320s in any case.”

Andrew asked whether easyJet would also commit to avoiding earlier departure and later arrival slots. He added: “The night-time has already been eroded to just six hours [because of increased] aircraft noise, and people have to sleep.”

Claims by easyJet that more than doubling passengers from four to nine million passengers annually would result in the creation of 2,500 new jobs at Luton were also questioned.

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He said: “Extra jobs and benefits to passengers have to be balanced by effective actions to reverse the increasing noise trend at Luton Airport.

“Noise is a form of pollution and businesses which create noise need to invest in mitigation for its effects, as well as being prepared to constrain the hours during which noise is made.

“These are not unreasonable demands, and we look forward to some specific proposals from easyJet to balance its announcement.”

Glyn Jones, managing director of the airport which is owned by Luton borough council, said easyJet accounted for 45 per cent of all passengers at Luton.