Luton Airport expanding in light of third runway at Heathrow announcement

A consultation has been launched amid plans to expand Luton Airport so it can cater for up to 38 mil

A consultation has been launched amid plans to expand Luton Airport so it can cater for up to 38 million passengers. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Luton Airport is pressing ahead with its expansion following the announcement of a third runway for Heathrow.

The airport aims to expand its capacity to cater for up to 38m passengers a year, London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) is holding a series of consultations on the proposals.

LLAL’s initial analysis suggests that the existing runway at Luton could serve between 36m and 38m passengers annually, and they are in the process of preparing a Development Consent Order application which will be submitted to the National Planning Inspectorate next year.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling announced last week that the Airport National Policy Statement, and therefore the third runway, has been approved by Cabinet and will go to a parliamentary vote. The third runway is the Government’s preferred option to ease air congestion in the South East.

Luton borough councillor Andy Malcolm, who chairs the LLAL board, said: “We welcome the announcement that the government will be proceeding as planned with the airport national policy statement. It’s been clear for some time that there is a strong need for additional airport capacity in the South-East.

“London Luton Airport and Heathrow play different roles and serve different markets in the aviation sector. LLA primarily serves short-haul European destinations, while Heathrow focuses on its role as one of the major European hub airports.”

“Luton is the UK’s fifth biggest airport and one of the fastest growing. We have ambitious plans for the airport and look forward to playing a strong role in meeting the increasing demand for aviation.”

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LLAL will stage a ten-week consultation on the proposals over the summer.

Cllr Malcolm added: “We believe that the development at Luton will deliver valuable runway capacity to meet the specific needs of its catchment area for mainly short-haul, point-to-point journeys.

“With that in mind, we launched our LLA vision for sustainable growth 2020-2050 last December, which aligns with the government’s position that airports should make best use of their existing runways.”

Details of the consultation times and locations are available at, and details of a dedicated project website will be announced shortly.