Luton Airport starting consultation process on possible future expansion

Luton airport is owned by Luton Borough Council. It owns the airport through the London Luton Airport Ltd. (LLAL), a wholly-owned holding company. This leases the operating rights to London Luton Airport Operations.  In 2013, there can be a break point in the lease. This provides the opportunity to reconsider the lease. LLAL has decided that it needs to explore its future options, using the “break clause” to do this, though no decision has been  made to invoke the break.  If thy are going to make the change, then a plan, and the resulting planning application,  need to be in place very soon. At a meeting of the Consultative Committee on 17th January  LLAL announced a project, which they’ve named future LuToN, to push throughput to 18 million passengers a year on the existing runway and within the curtilage of the existing airport. There is a timetable for the project, with the first phase of  Pre-consultation and public information starting 6th February to March 2012. followed by a 16-week statutory consultation on LLAL’s planning application from April to August.

18th January 2012

Luton Airport: Possible Expansion

(Information from LLATVCC) London  Luton  Airport Town  &  Village  Communities  Committee

Luton Airport is owned by London Luton Airport Ltd. (LLAL), a wholly-owned holding company owned by Luton Borough Council, which leased the operating rights for 30 years to London Luton Airport Operations Ltd. (LLAOL) in 1995.

That lease has a unilateral break-point which arises in, effectively, 2013 and gives LLAL the opportunity to determine the lease (with payment of appropriate penalties) and re-tender for another period.

The last Airport Master Plan, produced by LLAOL, sunk without trace a number of years ago and there has been no successor.

LLAL has decided that it needs to explore its future options, using the “break clause” to review options –  (no decision has yet been made as to whether to invoke the break) – but the timing of the legal niceties surrounding the break means that they need to have a plan, and the resulting planning application, in place very soon.

At the 17th January  meeting of the London Luton Airport Consultative Committee (LLACC) LLAL announced a project, which they’ve named future LuToN, to push throughput to 18 million passengers a year (18Mppa) on the existing runway [ its length is 2,160 metres ] and within the curtilage of the existing airport.

That is about double the present throughput, though they have still fastened their eyes on a more distant prospect of up to 30Mppa – though that would involve acquisition of more land, much of which appears to be

(a) Green Belt and

(b) in Hertfordshire.

What might the impact of such an expansion be on the communities surrounding the airport? The issues include:

• Approximately doubling the current levels of aircraft movements and consequent noise disturbance. The length of the existing runway precludes use of substantially larger aircraft whose greater passenger capacity might otherwise have contained at least some of the growth in movements. In any event much of the current operators’ fleets are relatively new aircraft so wholesale changeouts are highly unlikely, and even newer aircraft are not significantly less noisy than those existing – noise reduction achievement has more or less flat-lined now. A further concern will be the number of movements scheduled in the “deep night”, from 23.30 until 06.00, the numbers of “late arrivals”, already a concern, and in the already heavily used early morning “shoulder” between 06.00 to 07.00.

• The consequences on the local road network and the M1 of doubling the number of journeys to the airport by car and taxi – around 75% of all journeys to and from the airport are by these means. The surrounding geography and topography result in west-to-east links being few and already very heavily used by airport traffic, and the only possible connection to the airport by rail would be a funicular from Parkway Station.

• The consequences of adding an additional 100,000 movements a year to the already heavily-overcrowded airspace in the locality. The skies above us already accommodate at levels around 10,000ft or less, traffic from Heathrow (including the infamous Bovingdon arrivals “stack” whose presence keeps Luton departures low over our heads, and also Heathrow departures heading ultimately to USA); plus contributions from Stansted; London City; and Northolt.

We are not aware of any consultation with National Air Traffic Services (NATS) or the Civil Aviation Authority’s  (CAA’s) Department of Airspace Policy over the airspace consequences: though we do recall an off-the-cuff comment from the previous Director of Airspace Policy to the effect that “the problem with the south-east’s airspace is that there are too many damned airports”.

We were told that there would be lots of local of publicity, with as much of the information and consultation material being via a website: ; (NB as at midday on 17th. January the site consisted of a single “place-marker” page with even less information than was provided at LLACC) and an email contact address: .

There will be some public-engagement presentation events: Dunstable; Caddington; Flamstead; Harpenden; plus another two to the east – not named but one looked to be Breachwood Green and the other somewhere close to Winch Hill. (others may be run if there’s a demand).

It was said that the consultation would include LLAL’s preferred option and alternatives……

These as-yet-unclear proposals will affect all of local residents in the Luton area. People concerned are strongly recommend to keep a close watch on that website, which we were told would be the principal vehicle for communication and response.

LLATVCC will be watching it carefully and feeding back any additional information.

It will also be important for as many local residents as possible to respond individually.

The timescale is indecently short (that’s code for saying that LLAL should have started a year earlier).


Pre-consultation and public information: January-March 2012;

16-week statutory consultation on LLAL’s planning application: April – August 2012

Planning application laid, along with an Environmental Impact Assessment: September 2012.


London Luton Airport Ltd answer The Comet’s questions on airport expansion

By Laura Burge (Comet)

Friday, January 27, 2012

PUBLIC exhibitions will be held at four Comet country venues, where people can drop in to see proposals for the expansion of Luton Airport.


When will the exhibitions be held?

– Breachwood Green: February 10

– Whitwell: February 15

– Hitchin: February 17

– Stevenage: February 27

The exhibitions will be held in Breachwood Green, Whitwell, Hitchin and Stevenage in February, with a consultation also extended to six weeks, following public pressure. It’s after London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) said it wanted to double the airport’s capacity to 18m passengers per annum.

The process has been criticised by parish councils and North Herts councillor David Barnard. They claim that none of the consultations are accessible to those living in rural villages in the north of the county, including Offley and Lilley.

Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin, has also spoken out about the proposals.

He said: “I shall pay close attention to views expressed during the planned local consultation. I have always argued that expansion plans must be subject to these two tests but the consultation may raise other issues.

“It was clear that the previous plans to convert Luton into a long haul airport with a jumbo jet a minute disgorging an extra 25 million passengers failed those tests. So I was delighted when it was withdrawn.

“That does not mean we should oppose all expansion outright if environmental and infrastructure problems can be overcome. We need the jobs, business and travel opportunities that Luton can generate. But I am surprised Luton Borough Council and the Airport operator are proposing plans on this scale before they have tackled the massive congestion at the entrance to the airport.”

The Comet, along with campaign group Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN), put questions to LLAL. Read the response here:

• Q: How is access from the east and west of the airport to be managed?

A: We outlined to the airport’s community consultative committee that our plans will include appropriate road access provision and this will be announced in due course. There are already plans underway to resolve much of the congestion by 2014.

• Q: Are LLAL prepared to pay compensation to those suffering extra noise – including the purchase of their houses?

A: This will be a matter for the concessionaire and it is too early to confirm any further details beyond what the airport operator currently offers to homes affected by noise.

• Q: Is it a conflict of interest that any planning application would be made to LBC?

A: No, the airport is owned by LLAL which is independent of LBC. It is LLAL’s intention to submit a planning application for consideration in or around April 2012, at which time a further statutory consultation will be undertaken by Luton Borough Council, the local planning authority responsible for processing planning applications. The planning committee, which is independent of the council’s Executive, will then make a decision on the application. The council acting as planning authority has a statutory duty to determine in the public interest all planning applications which it receives and there is a comprehensive body of policy and practice which guides this process in all respects. An application for optimisation of the airport will be determined in accordance with proper planning procedures in the normal way.

• Q: How will “being a good neighbour” [to North Herts] be achieved?

A: Throughout the consultation process we are encouraging local residents to feedback their views either online or by attending public events. We want to ensure that we have listened to the local community to ensure that the plans reflect local views. Should the plans come to fruition, there will be wide employment and business opportunities that reach beyond the Luton borders into neighbouring authorities and across the region, and we will do everything we can to minimise noise and other impacts to our neighbours.

• Q: Some councils have said they were not told of plans, and the first they heard about it was on TV. Why were they not consulted first?

A: The airport Consultative Committee (LLACC) first heard of the developing project in October 2011 and then were the first to hear of the forthcoming consultation on January 16, and this committee includes representatives from neighbouring councils, including NHDC and parishes in the North Herts. On January 16, we also wrote to neighbouring councils, neighbouring residents and other organisations.

• Q: The figure given for the number of jobs this will create have been cited as “hugely inflated” by a local campaign group, who say the real figure is closer to just over 400. How was that 6,000 figure reached?

A: This was explained in our announcement on 16th January. Our independent advisors, York Aviation, used existing data from the airport as well as detailed knowledge of similar airport expansion in the UK to arrive at the figure.

This is the press release from London Luton Airport Ltd on Monday 16 January 2012


London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL) today announced it would seek to increase the
capacity of the airport to 18 million passengers per year using the existing runway, which
it estimates could create up to 6,000 new jobs and generate millions of pounds of

The airport’s current maximum capacity is estimated at 11.5 million passengers per
annum and 9.6 million passengers are expected to use the airport this year. Government
forecasts show an air travel capacity shortage in the South East of England by 2020 and
the proposed 57 per cent growth at Luton can be achieved within the airport’s existing
boundary and using the existing runway. LLAL also wants to improve passengers’
experience from this London airport.

A project called ‘futureLuToN:Optimisation’ was today introduced to the airport’s
consultative committee representing local residents, councils and community groups.
A pre-planning application public consultation will begin on Monday 6 February when
plans will be presented in Luton and around the wider area. A dedicated website – will also be launched for interested parties to view proposals
and provide their feedback on the airport’s future plans.

LLAL will work hard to make stakeholders and people most affected aware of the plans
and secure their views and comments. The four-week consultation process will run until
5 March and will include a series of public exhibitions around the region.

The project seeks to optimise the capacity of the existing airport and LLAL will consider
what modifications and improvements will be required. This will include consideration of
areas including the aircraft taxiways, aprons, piers and parking stands, the road network,
airport car parking and the passenger terminal.

Cllr Robin Harris, chair LLAL, the company that owns the airport on behalf of Luton
Borough Council said: “We’re at the very beginning of a journey that builds on the
tremendous success we have seen through the last decade and will ultimately bring
huge benefits to Luton and the wider region – with jobs and much-needed income.
“We will consult actively and listen carefully ahead of submitting a planning application to
enhance this important people’s asset but we must be ready to embrace market demand
in the future.

“The need for additional airport capacity in the South-East of England and the enormous
growth that low-cost carriers have demonstrated in recent years gives us every
confidence that London Luton Airport will continue to become ever-more attractive to
both existing and new airlines.”

London Luton Airport is the UK’s fifth biggest airport. It is a headquarters for easyJet and
is a major base for Wizz Air, Ryanair and Monarch.Cllr Harris added: “The benefits that will flow from the airport’s development will be  realised in the local, regional and national economies.

“We are committed to ensure the airport will continue to be a good neighbour and any
growth in passenger numbers is managed in a responsible manner. Impacts on the
environment, noise and road traffic flows will be fully evaluated as part of the process to
ensure the airport’s development continues to be as sustainable as it has always been.”
“Our plans that will go out for public consultation in February are ambitious. While we will
have to work hard to meet our aspirations, I am encouraged by the vast majority of
people and businesses in Luton and the wider region who believe strongly that the
airport is a terrific asset for job creation and our biggest wealth creator.”

– ENDS –

1. London Luton Airport Limited (‘LLAL’) is the owner of London Luton Airport and has
the goal of ensuring the airport is of maximum value and benefit to the people of
Luton and the surrounding region.

2. LLAL is wholly owned by Luton Borough Council on behalf of the people of Luton.

3. LLAL granted a concession to run the airport to London Luton Airport Operations
Limited (LLAOL) for 30 years in 1998. The agreement allows LLAL, at its sole
discretion, to break the concession with effect from 1st April 2014.

4. No decision has been made yet on whether or not to exercise this break. In the
meantime it is business as usual with LLAOL responsible for managing, promoting
and developing the airport.

5. 9.6 million passengers expected up to 31/3/2012. In the calendar year 2012
expected to be 10.2 million passengers.

6. It is LLAL’s intention to submit a planning application for consideration in or around
April, at which time a further statutory consultation will be undertaken by Luton
Borough Council as planning authority.

7. The LLAL funds do not directly fund services. It is used to fund charitable services –
both direct and third party community charities – through Gift Aid. For example,
ActiveLuton is a charitable health trust which receives funding through the scheme
and culture and community centre initiatives run through LBC’s Culture Trust
(previously directly funded council services) are funded by Gift Aid.

8. London Luton Airport Limited will also consider expanding the airport (still using the
existing runway) which could raise the capacity of the airport to be able to handle 30
million passengers a year but this does not form part of the proposals being
consulted on in February.

9. London Luton Airport produced £22.2m in 2010/11 and this went directly – as it does
each year – to benefit the town keeping council tax low, supporting essential
services and funding new infrastructure (such as the new Aquatic Centre).

10. It is estimated that London Luton Airport will drive an additional 440 direct on-site
jobs for every extra million passengers that pass through the airport. An estimated
additional 1,750 indirect jobs will be created by the airport’s plans for it to increase
capacity to 18 million passengers per year. Source, York Aviation.


For media enquiries regarding London Luton Airport Limited please contact Iain Burns,
Richard Rigby or Sam Hawkins on 020 3023 9005 / 9927/ 9087 or out of hours 07900


For media enquiries regarding Luton Borough Council please contact: Chris Hall on
01582 547 402

see also

Luton Airport hopes to boost passenger numbers by 7- 9 million per year

January 16, 2012     Luton airport – the UK’s 5th biggest – has announced a 4 week consultation on its plans that will start on 6 th February. It has plans to increase the annual number of passenger – up to 18 million passengers a year, up from below 10 million. Work “can be achieved within the airport’s existing boundary and using the existing runway”. Once the consultation ends, the airport hopes to submit a planning application in April. The airport says: “Impacts on the environment, noise and road traffic flows will be fully evaluated as part of the process.” The airport announced plans for road improvements in November to reduce anticipated congestion at the time of the Olympics. Some of the work is paid for by public funds.   Click here to view full story…