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An easyJet A320 taxiing at Schiphol Airport. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

London’s Luton Airport Announces Expansion

Luton Rising, the owner of London’s Luton Airport, one of the busiest airports in the United Kingdom, has begun a new consultation on its long-term proposals to expand the airport. Luton Rising is owned by Luton Council, the local governmental authority for the area.

Luton is expected to expand by building a new terminal to increase its passenger capacity. After the new terminal is completed, it may handle 32 million passengers annually.

According to Luton, the expansion can create more than 6,000 new jobs in the airport and its neighboring counties, boosting the area’s economy by one billion pounds. The airport said that it has supported 11,000 jobs directly employed at the airport and 28,000 jobs across the country over the years. The community organization’s benefit from Luton was 20 times greater than any other airport in the country, according to the report.

Graham Olver, the Chief Executive of the Luton Rising, said the latest proposal and what it proposes “differ in significant ways from those presented at the previous statutory consultation in 2019. Our new Green Controlled Growth framework is at the heart of our sustainability measures, which we believe are some of the most far-reaching ever put forward by a U.K. airport.”

Luton has signed up Toulouse Declaration, committing to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by no later than 2050.

Luton expects to expand the original terminal, associated facilities and the new terminal, making the airport can handle 27 million passengers. A further expansion of Terminal 2 and associated facilities to increase to 32 million in the future.

This is not the first time to reveal the proposal of the new terminal. Earlier, Luton revealed the new terminal proposal, expecting to be completed by 2041, but Covid-19 could delay the project until 2045. “Terminal two remains a very key part of our plans,” Olver said in last May.

Opposition To The Plan

Luton is best known as the hub for low-cost carriers such as easyJet and Wizz Air. During the pandemic, Luton had suffered from the Covid and needed a support package to survive. The single-runway airport handled nearly 18 million passengers in 2019, plummeting to 4.1 million passengers in 2021.

However, the expansion is not for everyone. Andrew Lambourne of the Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise said, “The last thing people who live in this area want, having been barraged by a constant stream of ever-noisier flights, clogged roads and standing room only on trains, is the prospect of the situation getting far worse than that.”

Earlier, Luton has been given a green light from its owner, Luton Council, to increase the passenger capacity from 18 million every year to 19 million, but it is still waiting for the final approval. Luton said the increase in passenger capacity will not have any “physical changes or new construction” at the airport. The people living around the airport are also concerned with noise pollution.

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