1,021,954 passengers travelled through London Luton Airport (LLA) in January this year, a 3.6% increase compared with the same period in 2017. The latest figures mark a new record for the airport, which has now welcomed over one million passengers every month for 12 consecutive months.
These latest statistics come at the start of a landmark year for LLA. In 2018, London’s fastest growing airport will celebrate its 80th anniversary and reach the next stage of its redevelopment.
Already this year, LLA has welcomed the Aviation Minister, Baroness Sugg, who toured the airport and viewed the progress of LLA’s current £150 million redevelopment programme. The investment will create a bigger and better terminal, increasing the airport’s annual capacity to 18 million passengers by 2020. The newly-extended terminal building will open later this year with a variety of new shops and restaurants as well as more seating and additional boarding gates.
Separately, the airport hosted a week-long Westminster exhibition attended by a number of MPs including Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, and Gavin Shuker, MP for Luton South. It highlighted LLA’s role in connecting Britain over the past 80 years and emphasised the need to improve rail connections to the airport or risk missing an opportunity to support future economic growth.
Inadequate rail links are significantly limiting the airport’s ability to provide the air capacity that UK travellers want and that the economy needs. LLA is London’s fastest-growing major airport but is the only one without a direct, express-style rail service. The airport is calling for the introduction of four fast trains per hour at Luton Airport Parkway station as part of the new East Midlands rail franchise. More fast trains would give passengers a better experience, generate £110 million for the DfT and provide a boost to the local and national economies. The benefits can be achieved through a simple timetable change and no capital expenditure.
Nick Barton, CEO of LLA, said: “2018 is already off to a fantastic start. We’ve seen another record-breaking month, welcoming over one million passengers in January for the first time. This is yet more evidence of the continued demand for air travel, and another reminder of the UK’s urgent need for additional aviation capacity.
“Currently demand for air travel is outpacing capacity. Our current redevelopment and expansion will help to provide part of the solution. However, we also need improved rail links to Luton Airport Parkway. The new East Midlands franchise is a once in a decade opportunity to deliver the air capacity UK travellers want and that the economy needs. We can’t afford to miss it.”