The Aviation Minister, Baroness Sugg, visited London Luton Airport (LLA) on Friday (19th) to meet the team responsible for the airport’s transformation, the biggest in its 80-year history.
Baroness Sugg took part in a tour of the airport, including the control tower, and saw how the redevelopment programme is transforming the airport, also speaking to apprentices on the construction team.
LLA is currently undergoing a £150 million development which will see the airport increase its capacity by 50% to 18 million by 2020. Independent economic analysis shows that, once completed, the transformation will increase LLA’s economic contribution by £1 billion per year, creating 10,500 new jobs while indirectly supporting 37,700.
As LLA celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, the transformation will see the official opening of the newly extended terminal building, and a new boarding pier with eight boarding gates. These developments will ensure that passengers have access to a greater variety of retail and restaurant options and a quick and easy journey through the airport.
This year will also see the start of construction on the Mass Passenger Transit system (MPT) which is being delivered by Luton Borough Council. The MPT will replace the current shuttle bus between Luton Airport Parkway (LAP) station and the terminal and will reduce the journey time from central London to the terminal to just 30 minutes.
Demand for air travel is currently at a record high, with the Department for Transport forecasting that the number of passengers in the UK will double to 445 million per year by 2050. The redevelopment of LLA will help meet some of that demand, but the airport also needs improved rail links to help it realise its full potential. With support from easyJet, the BCC and CBI, the airport is asking the government to introduce an express-style service as part of the upcoming East Midlands rail franchising, a move that would require no capital expenditure, just a timetable change.
Baroness Sugg, Aviation Minister, said: “It is clear to see that the investment being put in to London Luton Airport goes far beyond passengers, creating jobs, developing skills and boosting the local economy.
The work being done by the airport to upgrade the terminal and passenger facilities has created a wealth of opportunities for young people with apprenticeships and trainee schemes in a variety of areas.
This major investment not only shows how our aviation industry continues to go from strength to strength but also underlines the importance of talented young people in this British success story.”
Nick Barton, CEO of LLA, said: “This is the airport’s 80th year and will fittingly see us reach some of the most significant milestones in our history, including the opening of the new terminal extension and the construction of the MPT. We hope that Baroness Sugg enjoyed her tour of the airport and we look forward to welcoming her back to LLA soon.”