Luton Airport Welcomes Funding for Airspace Upgrade

London Luton Airport (LLA) has welcomed an announcement by the Department for Transport (DfT) that the Government is to provide funding to get the UK’s Airspace Modernisation Strategy back on track.

Local campaign groups LADACAN, STAQs and Harpenden Sky joined LLA in calling for the Government to step-in after the financial impact of the pandemic threatened the future of the programme, which aims to deliver quicker, quieter and cleaner journeys.

Chair of LADACAN, Andrew Lambourne, said:

This is a potential win-win for government, industry, noise-affected communities and carbon reduction. Airspace modernisation is 30 years overdue with aircraft still flying route patterns dating from the 1950s and 1960s. Luton Airport’s departing flights are often held low due to conflicts with flights from other airports preventing continuous climb and creating unwanted noise. This funding gives us all a chance to resolve those issues if approached in the right way.

£5.5m has been made available to ensure LLA, along with 20 other UK airports, can continue to develop and assess ways of upgrading the current airspace structure and route network.

Head of the Airspace Change Organising Group (ACOG), Mark Swan, said:

We’re delighted that the government has reaffirmed the essential role that airspace modernisation will play in helping the aviation industry to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to work with our partners across the industry to ensure this programme is one that delivers for all of the UK.

London Luton Airport (LLA) remains one of the UK’s busiest airports despite COVID-19, carrying 5.4 million passengers in 2020.

Operations Director at LLA, Neil Thompson, said:

This announcement is very welcome news and we are extremely grateful to the local community groups for backing our campaign. Like our roads and railways, airspace is a vital piece of infrastructure, yet it has remained largely unchanged since the start of the jet age. An overhaul is long overdue and will bring benefits for the industry and the travelling public, as well as for the environment and local communities. LLA has been at the forefront of this programme since its inception and remains committed to its future.

The airport is operated and developed by a consortium of which the majority shareholder is AENA, the world’s largest airport operator, and AMP Capital, a specialist global investment manager. Airlines include easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Tui, Sun Express and El Al.

luton funding
£5.5m has been made available to ensure LLA, along with 20 other UK airports, can continue to develop and assess ways of upgrading the current airspace structure and route network.

LLA was the first UK airport to receive the Airport Health Accreditation from Airports Council International (ACI) for health and hygiene measures introduced during the pandemic.

Passengers travelling by rail will benefit from upgraded rail links to Luton Airport Parkway station as part of a partnership agreement with East Midlands Railway.  A half-hourly express rail service between London and Luton Airport Parkway will launch in May 2021. In addition, work is well underway on a £225 million light rail system linking the airport with Luton Airport Parkway station and is anticipated to be completed by 2021. The project is being delivered by the airport owners, LLAL – a company owned by Luton Council.

This article was originally published by London Luton Airport Operations Limited.


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