1,498,281 passengers travelled through London Luton Airport (LLA) in May, a 3.6% increase compared to May last year. This is the 16th consecutive month that over one million passengers have passed through the airport and represents LLA’s busiest ever May.
This continued demand reinforces LLA’s calls to improve rail access to Luton Airport Parkway station. LLA’s current £160million redevelopment project has the potential to unlock much-needed air capacity in the South East, but better rail links are needed for LLA to reach its full potential.
The renewal of the East Midlands rail franchise offers a chance to address this, and the Department for Transport’s recently-published invitation to tender (ITT) highlights the importance of improving air rail links to both LLA and East Midlands Airport. LLA is calling on bidders for the franchise to include four fast trains per hour between Luton Airport Parkway and central London. Not only will this increase the proportion of passengers travelling by rail, it can also be achieved with no capital expenditure.
Nick Barton, CEO of LLA, said: “The Cabinet’s recent approval of the third runway at Heathrow will not solve London’s capacity problems alone. Regional airports need to be able to meet their full potential, and improved rail links are essential to achieving that. The DfT has recognised that in the East Midlands rail franchise and we hope the bidding rail companies will seize this once-in-a-decade opportunity to improve rail services for passengers and help ease the UK’s capacity crunch.”