1,008,184 passengers travelled through London Luton Airport (LLA) in November, an increase of 5.6% when compared with the same month in the previous year. This is the first time the airport has welcomed over a million travellers in the month of November. It also marks 44 months of consecutive growth at the airport.
These latest figures are further evidence of the continued and increasing demand among passengers for air travel. Separate figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) predict that passenger demand will double by 2050. Currently the capacity at UK airports is struggling to keep pace.
In response, LLA is investing over £150 million to transform the airport and increase annual capacity by 50% to 18 million passengers by 2020. The redevelopment will deliver much-needed capacity.
However, the Transport Select Committee has warned that inadequate rail links to airports are a significant limiting factor preventing airports from reaching their full potential. That’s why LLA is calling on the government to introduce a requirement within the East Midlands Rail Franchise for four trains per hour to call at Luton Airport Parkway station.
Achievable through timetable change alone, the requirement could generate an additional £110 million in fare revenue for the DfT over the duration of the franchise as well as doubling LLA’s value to the local economy to £1.4bn per year.
Nick Barton, CEO of LLA, said: “As the Transport Select Committee scrutinises the government's airports national policy statement, the issue of airport capacity in the south-east returns to the fore. With any new runway at Heathrow at least 10-15 years away from completion, we urgently need to create the conditions for regional airports to make the most of existing capacity.
“As one of the UK’s fastest-growing airports, LLA needs a direct express-style rail service to make the most of its potential to bring benefits to passengers and the economy.”