Campaigners hit out after Luton Airport signs 10 year deal with easyJet

London Luton Airport Terminal

London Luton Airport Terminal - Credit: Archant

Campaigners against the expansion of London Luton Airport have hit out about potential aircraft noise after the airport signed a 10-year deal with easyJet – which will more than double the airline’s number of passengers.

The contract, revealed on Monday, will see the number of easyJet passengers increase from four million to more than nine million a year and will create approximately 2,500 jobs.

New destinations are expected to be added and the frequency of easyJet’s existing 39 routes increased. As a result, the airline’s capacity is set to grow by around 20% over the next year.

The news comes despite expansion plans at Luton Airport – which would see overall passenger capacity rise from 12 million to 18 million a year – currently being on hold, pending a decision by the Secretary of State as to whether to call in the airport’s planning application.

Luton Borough Council, which owns the facility through London Luton Airport Operations Ltd and investment company Ardian and AENA Group, approved the expansion in December last year which would allow for an extra 160 flights a day.

Andrew Lambourne, from campaign group HALE (Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion), said: “People living close to airports are affected by increased noise if expansion plans such as this go ahead, and airlines must factor them into their thinking.

“Will easyJet commit to avoiding even earlier departure slots and even later arrivals slots? The night-time has already been eroded to just six hours by aircraft noise, and people have to sleep.

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“Extra jobs, and benefits to passengers, have to be balanced by effective actions to reverse the increasing noise trend at Luton Airport. Noise is a form of pollution, and businesses which create noise need to invest in mitigation for its effects, as well as being prepared to constrain the hours during which noise is made. These are not unreasonable demands, and we look forward to some specific proposals from easyJet to balance its announcement on Monday.”

Glyn Jones, managing director of London Luton Airport, said: “We see this as a real vote of confidence in London Luton Airport and its future, underlining the determination of our new owners, Ardian and Aena, to develop and radically improve London Luton and deliver a better airport experience for our passengers in the years to come.”

Carolyn McCall, chief executive of easyJet, said: “This is a substantial, long term deal with London Luton Airport – our first base and the airline’s home – which will enable us to double our size at London Luton in the next decade and add an even greater range of business and leisure destinations. We are looking forward to working with the airport, and the new concession owners Ardian and Aena. Their financial investment and long term commitment to developing London Luton were a key factor in our agreeing to this new deal and will help us deliver our plans.”