Record traffic for London Luton Airport ahead of mass redevlopment

By Charlotte Turner |

Record numbers of passengers took to the skies from London Luton in June and July as the Airport experienced its busiest summer period on record. Over one million passengers flew to over 100 destinations each month, including 15 new routes added so far this year.

 

New destinations on sale this summer include Naples, Catania and Skiathos with even more announced for this winter, such as Copenhagen, Lyons and Basle. The upward trend in passenger numbers is set to continue, with numbers for 2014 predicted to be the highest in the Airport’s 76-year history. The Airport carried 9.7m passengers in 2013.

 

The news comes just weeks after final planning consent was granted for a £100m development of the Airport, which will increase annual passenger capacity from 12-18m per year by 2031.

 

As reported, the fifth busiest airport in the UK is seeking expressions of interest (EOI) for a concession to operate tax and duty free stores at its passenger terminal. The incumbent is Aelia UK, part of Paris-based LS Travel Retail.

 

HOTLY CONTESTED BIDDING PROCESS

Aelia will be bidding with gusto for the tender at the airport, Fin Casey, Managing Director of LSTR UK & Ireland, told TRBusiness. “We’ve known it’s been coming for some time,” Casey told TRBusiness. “We’ve been working very closely with Luton Airport management and we were fully briefed along the way in terms of their internal approach and plans; how and when it was going to be. We were forewarned, every step of the way, and the idea of a tender has been around for some time now; delayed a little bit because of the sale of the airport last year.”

 

As reported last year, Luton Airport was divested by Spanish infrastructure group Abertis as it sought to offload its airport interests. In a deal worth €502m ($762m), LTN is now under the control of Spanish airports operator Aena, and the infrastructure fund of Ardian, a private investment company.

 

The airport’s development plans, including an expanded and modernised terminal building, improved surface access and an upgraded passenger experience, are forecast to increase the Airport’s annual economic impact by £283m to £1.2bn per annum and create over 5,000 new jobs.

 

Clive Condie, Executive Chairman of London Luton Airport Operations Limited (LLAOL), said: “Demand from leisure and business passengers was remarkable in June and July and we expect to announce record passenger numbers for August too.  Our exciting redevelopment plan, together with the support of our owners and our airline and business partners, means we are on track to deliver a local airport of which Luton and the region can be proud.”

 

Councillor Mohammed Ashraf, Chair of London Luton Airport Limited, said: “As the freehold owners of London Luton we are delighted with these results and that we can now press ahead with this exciting development.  We have been working hard with LLAOL to deliver a shared ambition for the people who live and work in and around the area, which will deliver over 5,000 jobs by 2031.”

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