Proposed new easyJet flights from Southend show just how few new jobs low cost airlines produce
within the next year is a bitter blow that will fill residents with dread. But
this announcement undermines the entire case for expansion at Southend Airport.
Easyjet has confirmed that the 800,000 passengers it intends to carry will result
in the creation of just 150 new jobs. LSA previously claimed that 2 million passengers
would result in the creation of 1,130 jobs but we now see that the employment
gain may be in the region of just 375, significantly less than promised. The reality
is that with online booking and a business model designed to reduce baggage, far
fewer jobs will be created than claimed.
SAEN (Stop Airport Extension Now) has long argued that the projected employment
gains were overstated in order to secure council approval for expansion but now
we have a glimpse of the reality.
in[2, 3], we see that 800,000 passengers will deprive the UK economy of £448 million,
which is equivalent to 17,920 jobs.
Residents now face the onset of more night flights in the summer months and all
the traffic chaos they feared. With around 8,000 additional car trips per day
on our already congested roads residents worst fears are set to be realised.
The challenge for the local media is to see how residents, and the parents of
the schools under the flight path will react to this unwelcome news. Indeed, as
the full horror of expansion within the heart of such a densely populated area
becomes apparent, we must expect very significant protest from the majority who
already oppose expansion (61.25% of residents) and particularly those who oppose
night flights (79.78%). Far from being over, this issue is set to become ever
Spokesman for SAEN, Denis Walker, said:
“The announcement from Easyjet that 800,000 additional passengers will create
150 new jobs proves airport claims that 2 million passengers will create 1,130
jobs wrong. It was the promise of huge employment gains that led councillors to
agree to expansion but we now see the harsh reality. Residents too will also now
begin to see that aircraft flying at night, particularly in the summer months,
are anything but ‘quiet’ and all their worst fears of traffic chaos will be realised.
With the majority of flights taking place in the summer months, residents must
now expect around 8,000 additional car trips per day on our already heavily congested
“This announcement is unwelcome news for the majority of people in the town who
oppose expansion. Far from being over, Councillors must now brace themselves for
ever growing demands for a curtailment of operations at the airport.”
Notes to Editors
1. “Stop Airport Extension Now” (SAEN) was formed to campaign against the runway
extension at Southend Airport. The group is not opposed to the Airport itself,
which has co-existed with the residents of Southend for many years. SAEN is against
the runway extension, which would lead to a massive increase in flights and destroy
the lives of the people living, working or going to school anywhere near the flightpath.
2. Tourism Deficit: Aviation is a net drain on the UK economy. Tourists departing
by aviation spend more money abroad than those arriving in the UK. In 2008 the
loss to the UK economy (the aviation trade deficit) was £19.6 billion. In 2009
this reduced, apparently due to the recession and a reduction in the value of
sterling. But the loss to the UK economy was still substantial – £15.1 billion
(no figures yet available for 2010). (Source: Office for National Statistics:
The Pink Book).
3. The average tourist travelling abroad spends £560 (excluding the cost of flights)
(Source: AirportWatch link – see below). That means that the 800,000 passengers travelling from Southend would deprive
the local economy of £448 Million, which is equivalent to a loss of 17,920 jobs
to the local economy (£25,000 = 1 job).
4. Southampton airport data reveals that just 11% of passengers arrive by public
transport. Of those arriving by car 42% park at the car park and 58% are dropped
off by friends/family – “kiss and fly”, which entails 4 car trips per journey
(passenger dropped off, driver returns home, driver returns to pick up and then
takes passenger back home).
Following this model, 800,000 passengers implies 88,000 people will arrive by
public transport, and 712,000 will arrive by car, of which 42% (299,040 will park
in Southend – 2 car trips) and 58% (412,960 will be ferried to and from the airport
“kiss and fly” – 4 car trips). The 800,000 passenger announcement equates to 2,249,920
additional car trips on the roads of Southend per annum. This equates to 6,164
additional cars on Southend roads per day but since most of these will be in the
summer months, we must expect around 8,000 aditional car journeys between April
5. The public opinion poll conducted for SAEN in May revealed that the majority
oppose expansion. It revealed that of those expressing a view: –
49 people oppose expansion 61.25%
31 support expansion 38.75%
71 oppose night flights 79.78%
18 support night flights 20.22%
12 people either did not have an opinion or were split on the issues, seeing
many pros and cons.
All views of adults seen were recorded. In some homes one adult was seen, in
others two were seen. The numbers seen were:
92 homes surveyed
101 adults surveyed
For further information:
EasyJet to start flying from Southend airport
passengers in the first 12 months from its new base. It hopes to start flights
at Southend from April 2012, where a multimillion pound terminal will open this
autumn. Under a 10-year partnership with Stobart Group, easyJet will operate 70
flights a week to a number of European destinations including Barcelona, Ibiza
and Faro. Around 150 easyJet staff will work at the airport.
June 2009 “Overseas Travel and Tourism). The tourism deficit in 2008 was £20.515
billion. The number of inbound visitors to the UK was 31,888,000 and the number
of UK residents who holidayed abroad was 69,011,000. So the surplus of outgoing
visitors over incoming visitors was approximately 37,123,000. And dividing the
£20.515 billion between those 37 odd million gives around £560 each.