Liverpool airport wants to extend runway for some long-haul and transatlantic flights

Liverpool John Lennon Airport wants to extend its runway by 314 metres, so it can attract direct transatlantic flights, to try to more than double its passenger numbers. It has published another Master Plan (these are more wish lists to impress investors, rather than firm future plans!). The Plan is out to 2050 and has all sorts of optimistic aspirations. The airport wants to grow passengers numbers from 4.8 million per year today, to 11 million by 2050. To do that, they want to get direct links to many new destinations. The current runway is too short for even the newer smaller long-haul aircraft. The runway extension would take it to 2,600m length. They hope not only to have European flights, as now, but also flights to the USA and to the Middle East. There are the usual bits of hype about the number of jobs this would create and the economic benefits to the area.  The reality is that most of the passengers would probably be going on holidays abroad, taking their holiday/leisure money out of the country.  Liverpool hopes it can attract passengers who currently use Manchester, Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham airports. And Liverpool airport also wants to increase the amount of cargo it handles, which has been falling.



Liverpool airport wants to extend runway for transatlantic flights

Airport plan for 2050 would see terminal extended and more jobs

23 JUN 2017

Liverpool John Lennon Airport wants to extend its runway so it can attract direct transatlantic flights as it bids to more than double passenger numbers.

The airport is today revealing its masterplan for 2050 – including an extension of the terminal building, more car parking and more jobs in cargo handling.

Airport bosses say they want to grow passengers numbers from 4.8m a year today to 11m by 2050. To do that, they want to get direct links to many new destinations

The current runway is too short for even the newer smaller long-haul aircraft. So LJLA wants to extend it by another 314m, taking it to 2,600m long.

Mark Povall, the airport’s strategy director, said: “One of our targets is that global connectivity.

“That could be through a European hub. But a city region like Liverpool can justify direct flights to the US and to the Middle East.

“To achieve that we need a longer runway.”

The airport hopes that if it hits its growth targets, it could bring an extra £650m into the local economy every year by 2030, supporting more than 12,000 jobs.

Mr Povall said his team was talking to airlines about longer-haul journeys.

He said: “There’s a lot of people from the city region using other airports – Manchester and Heathrow and Gatwick and Birmingham.

“We’ve got to put a business case to the airlines. To do that we have to have the right infrastructure.

The extension would not be for giant 747s and A380s, but rather for modern smaller long-haul aircraft.

But the growth isn’t just about long haul destinations.  Mr Povall said: “We are looking at cities we don’t currently serve, population and business centres across Europe.

“We want to increase the frequency as well. Take Paris – we have five flights a week. They should be double daily, for business and for city break visitors.

“And it’s about people going in both directions – people going away to Paris, yes, but also French people coming here as well.”

The airport has also vowed to consider the impact on the environment and the local community. It says that aircraft are expected to get quieter and less polluting, the impact could be minimised. The terminal would grow to include new piers, meaning more planes could get closer to the terminal so fewer passengers would need to get buses to their planes. That would also create space for more shops and restaurants.

Existing cargo and maintenance facilities would be moved to the south side of the runway near the river, making room for the terminal extension and for more car parking.

Cargo volumes at LJLA fell away during the recession but Mr Povall believes there is an opportunity to attract more traffic – and the cargo handling jobs that could go with that.

He said: “We could work with local manufacturers, for example, so they don’t have to import or export through airports further away. They could save road miles and cost.”

The airport plans would also see the Speke Garston Coastal Reserve extended around the airport on the river bank.

This week the airport announced that its chief executive Andrew Cornish had resigned and would leave at the end of the month.

* LJLA has now launched a public consultation on its plans. People can comment on the plans for four weeks from Monday, while there will also be two public meetings for people to have their say.