Harpenden campaigners criticise ‘flawed’ Luton Airport expansion plan

PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 November 2018

An Easyjet plane takes off from Luton Airport. Picture: DANNY LOO

An Easyjet plane takes off from Luton Airport. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

A Harpenden campaign group fears Gatwick’s new runway proposal threatens the viability of plans to expand Luton Airport.

Gatwick Airport announced that by 2025 they will be able to increase passenger capacity to 60 million, which campaign group Harpenden Sky believes will render Luton Airport’s proposed expansion unnecessary.

According to the campaigners, plans for dramatic growth in passenger numbers at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and London City will “more than satisfy” 70 per cent of the Department for Transport forecast for the UK by 2030, making Luton’s projected expansion to 38 million passengers unjustifiable.

Harpenden Sky spokesman Neil McArthur said: “Ultimately airports have only two main sources of revenue which are airlines and

passengers.

“The LLAL expansion of Luton Airport risks having to further penalize passengers who are already experiencing some of the highest charges for drop-off, parking, luggage trolley and fast-track security in the UK.

“Luton Airport is already struggling with passenger satisfaction, being rated at the bottom of the 2018 “Which” UK airport study for a third year in a row.

“Simply put, if the passenger growth at an expanded Luton Airport does not show up, then the only other source of income from such flawed investment will be the long-suffering passengers.”

Cllr Andy Malcolm, chair of London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL), said: “Department for Transport (DfT) forecasts show the total number of passengers wanting to travel to and from the UK rising from 277 million passengers per year (mppa) today to 495 mppa by 2050, with actual growth reaching 435 mppa even with a third runway at Heathrow. The DfT indicates this capacity gap will be evident by 2030 and most apparent in London.

“We have used these official forecasts of air passenger growth as the basis of our specific projections of how LTN might grow, taking into account the phased development of a third runway at Heathrow and other airports making best use of their existing runways. Even if Gatwick is permitted to make use of its standby runway, this would not impact on the need for LTN to be able to make best use of its own runway, in line with Government policy.”

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