The expansion would allow the airport to handle around 32 million passengers per year.

People outside the entrance to London Luton Airport
Photo: Michael715/Shutterstock.

This week, the British government has agreed to examine proposals to expand London Luton Airport (LTN), which would allow the airport to handle around 32 million passengers per year by the mid-2040s and could support the delivery of almost 11,000 new jobs.

Expansion coming

In late 2022, Luton Rising (the trading name of London Luton Airport Ltd.) made a proposal to increase the capacity of the airport to 32 million passengers per year by making the best use of the existing runway.

The expansion would see the addition of a new terminal building and new taxiways. It would be undertaken in two phases matching growing demand, according to a video recently published by the company. In the first phase, they would up capacity in the existing terminal by expanding its facilities and building new aircraft stands. Wigmore Valley Park to the east would also be further improved, including expanding the public open space and preserving more trees and biodiversity.

An easyJet plane taxing at Luton Airport

Photo: Captain_Kangaroo/Shutterstock.

The second phase would include the construction of the core of the new passenger terminal, aircraft stands, and a pier to connect the terminal to the aircraft, along with associated supporting infrastructure. This would coincide with the arrival of the DART railway extension connecting the airport’s second terminal to Luton’s main line of railway services.

After that, it would be followed by completing terminal 2, constructing more stands and a second pier, support facilities, and aircraft hangars. They would also migrate the short-stay car park to a single building and expand long-stay parking to the east. Terminal 2 is essential to allow Luton to increase its yearly passenger capacity.

The challenges

Anti-noise campaigners have called on the government not to approve Luton’s expansion plans, saying it would be tragic. According to LADACAN, a community group representing people affected by the noise from LTN, an expansion would impact rural towns and villages and rob people in South Luton of sleep.

A view of an easyJet and a Wizz Air plane at Luton Airport

Photo: Chrispictures/Shutterstock.

LADACAN added that the expansion plan would involve adding 80,000 additional flights a year to an already noisy and crowded sky. It would also require paving over the Wigmore Park nature reserve to build a second terminal and more parking, causing 40,000 extra journeys a day on congested roads and rail services, increasing local air quality pollution, and contributing to climate change by over 50%; and add to financial risk for Luton Borough Council.

Andrew Lambourne, the spokesman for LADACAN, said, “it is tragic that the councilors who run Luton Rising have been so obsessed with growing the airport they appear to have lost sight of the need for prudence.” He added that the harm outweighs any possible benefits.

Luton numbers

As of March 2023, London Luton Airport has about 839 weekly departures, according to data from Cirium. easyJet is the largest operator at the airport, with 386 weekly departures, ranging between 52 and 58 daily operations. It is followed by Wizz Air, with 339 weekly departures, and Ryanair, with 101. These three airlines are the main carriers at Luton. TUI Airways, El Al, Fly One, and SunExpress operate five or fewer weekly services at the airport. Last year, Luton Airport received 13 million passengers.

Do you agree London Luton Airport should be expanded? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: BBC


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