Stobart plans Southend airport expansion

23.1.2010   (FT)

Stobart Group said on Friday that it hoped the government would make a swift
decision on its plan to expand Southend airport after it received local council
approval earlier in the week.

The transport and logistics group, known best for its Eddie Stobart road haulage
arm, branched out into aviation in December 2008 by buying Southend airport in
a deal worth up to £21m.

It envisages increasing the number of passengers passing through the site each
year from 48,000 in 2008 to 2m in 2019. For this to happen, the airport’s runway
needs to be extended to allow larger aircraft to take off and land.

On Wednesday, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council gave its approval for the necessary work, which now requires clearance from
John Denham, secretary of state for communities and local government.

Stobart said on Friday that it hoped Mr Denham would issue his decision by the
end of February. It would like to expand the airport in time to welcome visitors
to the 2012 London Olympics.

"It would be an obvious arrival route for people coming to the UK [for the Games],"
said the company. A railway station serving the airport is due to open in early

Stobart also said in a trading statement on Friday that it expected to meet its pre-tax profit expectations for the current
financial year, which runs until the end of February.

It forecast a "good improvement" in profit margin at its road transport and warehousing
business, adding that its rail operations had been performing "very well".



Stobart views straitened times as opportunity – Jan-02



see also a very pro-Stobart article in the FT:


Airport expansion plan boost for Stobart

By Gill Plimmer

January 23 2010

Southend Airport, near London, has won a significant battle in its fight to extend
its runway, creating a potential alternative to Stansted in time to carry passengers
to the 2012 Olympics.

If successful, Southend could become another air hub for London carrying 2m passengers
a year to destinations as distant as southern Europe.

The airport received local council approval for the extension this week and is
awaiting a final decision from government.

John Denham, secretary of state for communities and local government, can either
approve the project or call a public inquiry.

But Eddie Stobart, the transport group that owns the airport, wants a quick decision
so it can complete the work in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Despite the controversy over expansion at Heathrow and Stansted, this extension
has won broad cross-party support as it will ease congestion at south-east England’s
other airports and could create more than 1,000 additional jobs.

Flybe is the only consumer service operating out of Southend, offering weekend
flights to Jersey. But the airport is likely to prove attractive to rival low
cost carriers as it avoids the congested London flight path and shaves 20 minutes
off journey times to Europe. It is currently a hub for private business jets,
flight clubs and aircraft maintenance.

The airport will be well connected. A new railway station is due to open in July,
taking passengers from the airport to Liverpool Street Station in 49 minutes and
to Stratford in 42 minutes.

Eddie Stobart, best known for its road haulage arm, bought Southend Airport in
2008 in a £21m deal. Eighty five per cent of air cargo freight in and out of London
comes on passenger planes and the company hopes to provide customers with an integrated
air and road haulage service.

Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of Eddie Stobart, said: “If you go shopping you
want all your bread and butter sold in one shop. We want to offer customers a
one-stop shop as well.”

The company bought Carlisle Lake District airport last summer, where it is building
a new distribution centre and resurfacing the runway, raising the possibility
of scheduled passenger flights between London and the Lake District.

In a trading statement yesterday Eddie Stobart said it expected to meet pre-tax
profit expectations for the year to end February,


see also


Southend runway extension given go-ahead

Go-ahead has been given for a 300 metre runway extension at Southend.   The Development
Control Committee voted 14 to 3 in favour..but planners must now refer proposals
to the government before work can start. Secretary of State at DCLG, John Denham,
has claimed the right to a final say on the extension and may call for a public
inquiry. Campaigners are concerned about a rise in passenger numbers to 2m a year,
and that expansion will have an adverse impact on the Southend area.   20.1.2010    
More …..