Lydd airport plans first commercial flights to Italy, with its very short runway
Following the closure of Manston Airport with the loss of some 150 jobs, Lydd Airport has announced an expanded service. Its runway is only 1,505 metres, making it too short for many commercial airlines. However, Lydd says it is now starting flights to Italy. Now it has full terminal services including Customs, immigration and Special Branch, Lydd Airport hopes to attract more executive jets, helicopters and light aircraft and cargo. The airport says it now has regular flights to Verona and Naples run by Newmarket Holidays, as well as to Le Touquet, operated by LyddAir. The 3 departures (just 3 flights?) will take place on June 1, 14 and 22. Two of the flights will go to Verona, while one will fly to Naples. The flight on 1st June will be a Boeing 737. This is odd, as the airport’s own website says it can only operate 737s without fare-paying passengers. They could only have private passengers, or the flights could be for maintenance. So what is going on? Local campaign group Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) have condemned the move, saying on their Facebook page that the aircraft will be “operating at the limit of its specification using the existing short runway.”
Lydd Airport Action Group’s Facebook page at Lydd Airport Action Group says:
“A Boeing737 jet is scheduled to land/take-off at Lydd Airport this Sunday despite the controversial runway extension not yet built..! The airliner will be flying half-laden and operating at the limit of it’s specification to use the existing SHORT runway.
We would like members to witness + record this event at the airport or along the flight path – see predicted flight plans on our PHOTOS page. Your pictures/film footage can be loaded to our facebook page via the PHOTO tab. Please load into the album marked SUNDAY 1ST JUNE 2014.”
By Jamie Weir
Friday, May 30, 2014 (Kent news)
But campaigners are ‘ruling nothing out’
Following the closure of Manston Airport with the loss of some 150 jobs, Lydd Airport has announced an expanded service.
Citing easy links to the M20 and the high-speed rail link at Ashford International, the airport, with a 1,505-metre runway, says it is starting flights to Italy.
Now it has full terminal services including Customs, immigration and even Special Branch, Lydd Airport says there is nothing to stop further expansion. It hopes to attract more executive jets, helicopters and light aircraft and cargo.
The airport, run by FAL Aviation UK, says it now has regular flights to Verona and Naples run by Newmarket Holidays, [ which has shifted from Manston] , as well as to Le Touquet in France, operated by LyddAir.
To celebrate the launch of the service last week, Newmarket has offered discounts on selected holidays.
An airport spokesman said the expansion would be good for the county and added: “We’re delighted to be welcoming our first Newmarket Holidays passengers.
“This is the beginning of a new chapter in Lydd’s exciting development and, we hope, the start of a successful partnership with Newmarket Holidays.”
There had been a row over the airport’s expansion, with campaign groups citing damage to the environment and the potential catastrophe of an aircraft crashing into Dungeness nuclear power station.
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds spokeswoman Sue Royal said: “Not only does increasing flights from Lydd risk potential disturbance to wildlife and its habitat, it also threatens an area that has been frequently praised as one of the most tranquil in the UK, attracting millions of visitors every year and valued by local people.
“The society, our 1.1 million members and many local people were very disappointed with the recent High Court judgement in response to our challenge to the application to expand Lydd Airport.
“We are currently reviewing the outcome of this complex case before we decide what our next steps will be, but we are ruling nothing out.”
and earlier version of the same story:
Lydd Airport announces new flights
Mute swans, pair in flight against the rising sun, Dungeness RSPB reserve, Kent
Sue Royal, a spokesperson for the RSPB explained to KoS: “The airport is located in a unique area for wildlife and nearby Dungeness is protected at global, European and UK levels.
“As well as the many bird and animal species which live there, it is particularly important for migrating birds, its rare shingle habitat and is a re-introduction site for the short-haired bumblebee. It has been given the highest level of legal wildlife protection available in Britain.”
When asked what the potential dangers would be, she said: “Not only do increasing flights from Lydd risk potential disturbance to wildlife and their habitat, it also threatens an area that has been frequently praised as one of the most tranquil in the UK, attracting millions of visitors every year and valued by local people, who protested in large numbers against the expansion.”
The three departures will take place on June 1, 14 and 22. Two of the flights will go to Verona, while one will fly to Naples.
The first aircraft to leave this Sunday (June 1) on the new route – a Boeing 737 jet – is scheduled to use the existing short runway.
Campaign group Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) have condemned the move, saying on their Facebook page that the aircraft will be “operating at the limit of its specification using the existing short runway.”
Newmarket holidays page about their Italian trips from Lydd airport – so they do seem to exist. For those few days in June, at least.
How short is too short for a runway?
Lydd airport said it needed to extend its runway, in order to accommodate commercial flights. The runway extension would be 294 metres, (plus 150 metres of starter extension) taking the runway length from its current 1,505 metres to 1,800 metres. By comparison, Southend’s runway is 1,856 metres.
The Boeing information relating to its 737 series is at http://www.boeing.com/assets/pdf/commercial/airports/acaps/737.pdf
This does not give the exact runway length needed for any particular model of Boeing 737, as it depends on variables such as flap position, weight of aircraft, strength of headwind, altitude, temperature and whether the runway is wet or dry.
It would appear that the existing runway leaves little extra length as a margin of error.
Lydd airport’s website http://www.lydd-airport.co.uk/about-us/future/ states:
“The proposed developments aim to modernise the Airport so it is capable of handling passenger flights by aircraft up to the size of Boeing 737 or Airbus 319 – but no larger. At the moment, the runway is long enough to operate these types of aircraft, but not for carrying fare-paying passengers – only for private use or maintenance. ”