London Luton Airport

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Initial response from London Luton Airport’s operator to consultation by Luton Borough Council subsidiary

Published: 15 February 2012

London Luton Airport Operations Limited welcomes the Council’s ambition to expand London Luton Airport and increase passenger numbers which will make a valuable contribution to the local economy and employment.

As London Luton Airport’s operator, we have already trebled the number of passengers using the airport from 3.4 million in 1998 to 10 million today. That is market leading growth compared to other UK airports. Under our stewardship, London Luton Airport has become the fifth largest airport in the UK and was the fastest growing London airport in 2011.

From our initial review of the Council’s plans we have identified a number of concerns that raise vital questions which must be addressed in the Council’s consultation:

1. If the Council decides to terminate our Concession in order to implement its proposals, it will have to make a termination payment to us reflecting the value of the remaining years of the Concession and certain other liabilities. Such a payment would be very substantial. How would this termination payment be funded and are the Council’s proposals feasible when the payment is taken into account?

2. The Department for Transport forecasts long term UK passenger growth at 2% per year. Its 2050 forecast for London Luton Airport is 17 million passengers per year. Who is going to cover the cost if passenger numbers do not reach the level provided for in the Council’s plan? Will prices to airlines have to increase dramatically to pay for this plan?

3. What would be the full environmental impact of the Council’s plan? In particular, what would be the impact on noise and air quality associated with the proposed airfield development which could increase flights by 275 per day?  Indeed, our analysis suggests that the proposed airfield could facilitate significantly more than 18 million passengers per year.

Passenger experience
4. The Council’s plan for an annual throughput of 18 million passengers is twice that of 2010, making London Luton Airport bigger than Manchester and Stansted airports. In the Council’s plan only a small amount of new terminal build is proposed. What level of congestion and throughput during the busiest hours does the Council think is acceptable to passengers?

5. What is the future for cargo and corporate aviation and the many skilled jobs they support, both directly and indirectly? The Council’s plan appears to show the existing cargo and some corporate aviation aprons will be converted to passenger apron.

As the successful operator, we continue to operate London Luton Airport in the normal course of business.  As evidenced by the airport developments and related improvements delivered by us to date, we firmly believe that further development must be based on the core considerations of safety, feasibility, sustainability and environmental sensitivity.  We will therefore publish our own detailed proposal for the further expansion of London Luton Airport during the second half of the month.  Our plan will directly address those core considerations, providing a safe, credible and sustainable route to the early development of this vital part of the local and regional economy and a principal source of increased employment and local prosperity. 


For more information please contact: Cardew Group – 020 7930 0777 or London Luton Airport Press Office –

Notes to Editors

London Luton Airport is operated and developed by London Luton Airport Operations Limited (‘LLAOL’), a consortium of which Abertis Infraestructuras, a leading European infrastructure provider, is a 90 per cent majority shareholder and Aena Internacional, the international business arm of Aena - the Spanish national airport and air traffic control organisation, is a 10 per cent shareholder.

London Luton is now the fifth largest airport in the UK, and one of the fastest growing, carrying almost 10 million passengers in 2011. The Airport employs over 500 staff, is a key economic driver for the region and a major base for ‘low cost’ or ‘no frills’ air travel.  

easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Monarch, Thomson, Aer Arann, EL AL, Blue Air and Flybe operate from the airport, departing to over 90 destinations including services to Europe, Africa, and Asia, with onward connections to Mumbai, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Beijing and Bangkok via Tel Aviv.

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