Southend Airport boss looks for boost

29.6.2008   (UK Airport News)

Southend Airport could soon be offering regular holiday flights to the Mediterranean, as boss
Alastair Welch hopes to model the airport on the success of Southampton, the Echo
reports.   Mr Welch believes the airport can emulate the success of Southampton
Airport, which generates £86.5million a year.   It has similar constraints to Southend
as it is edged by housing developments and yet every year it serves almost two
million passengers.

Mr Welch told the newspaper: ‘They are fairly heavily hemmed in. They also have
a railway line that goes right past, as we do, and they’ve got a fair bit of housing
around them. They are doing about two million passengers a year now from a runway
which is a little bit longer, and at the length we’d like to go to. That’s why
for me it’s a good comparison.’

There are 15 airlines at Southampton providing services to 43 destinations –
including Amsterdam, Alicante, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Brussels and Malaga. Mr
Welch said: ‘What is different between our airports is they have a significant
number of passengers, whereas we have maintenance and component manufacturing
that they don’t have.
But from a passenger point of view there are similar communities in Southampton
and Southend.’

The runway at Southampton is currently much longer, at 1,723m, and at that length
can accommodate the larger aircraft needed for package holidays to the Mediterranean.
However, Southend plans a 250-metre extension to allow medium-sized aircraft –
such as an Airbus 319 – to land while fully loaded, which is not possible at the