Stobart Group's new Southend Airport will receive a major boost today when easyJet sets out plans to expand its operations out of the Essex base.
Since the budget airline began flying from the south-east's newest airport in March it has carried almost half a million passengers, with jets flying to 11 cities, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Majorca and Malaga.
Now easyJet is adding another Airbus A319 aircraft to the three jets it currently bases at Southend to launch two new routes to Berlin and Krakow. The move is aimed at helping easyJet boost its presence in the business market, flying a year-round service to Berlin six times a week.
EasyJet's news will be a relief for Stobart, as its new airport could soon face competition from Stansted, which comes under new ownership next year.
Stobart has announced a £10m plan to extend the terminal building at Southend in line with demand from airlines including easyJet and Aer Lingus and private jets. The first phase, a new arrivals facility, is due to be ready at the end of May 2013, and the final phase completed just before Christmas 2013.