Luton airport expansion plans unveiled
Wednesday 14 March 2012
The operators of one of the UK's biggest holiday flight airports today put forward "rival" expansion plans.
Proposals to increase Luton Airport passenger numbers from 10 million a year to 18 million have already been announced by the Bedfordshire airport's owners, Luton Borough Council.
Today the Spanish-owned operators of the airport announced a plan to increase passengers to between 15 million and 16 million a year over the next 10 years.
Ryanair, easyJet, Monarch and Thomson are some of the airlines that fly from Luton.
The operator's strategy involves turning Luton into "London's local airport" through continual improvement of transport links with the capital.
The operator - London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL) - said its plans for phased development would "avoid overbuilding capacity, and passing on unnecessary costs to airlines and passengers".
The plans include improvements to the terminal building through the construction of a new pier, an extension of the taxiway to increase the number of aircraft movements, creating new aircraft stands and upgrading existing ones.
Announcing its plans last month, the council - in the form of owners London Luton Airport Ltd - said to carry out its proposals it may need to terminate LLAOL's contract before its expiry in 2028.
LLAOL said that should there be an early termination, the council would be required to make "significant termination payment to us" running into hundreds of millions of pounds.
LLAOL has also questioned the feasibility of the council's plans, citing possible congestion, cost and environmental problems.
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