Time to press the STOP button?

Luton Borough Council’s airport expansion plans are based on three foundation stones:

  • A Government report called Aviation 2050, which invited the other so-called London airports to absorb capacity increases within their current structures, whilst Heathrow builds its third runway. The report requests this as both Heathrow and Gatwick airports are at full capacity.
  • A report by Oxford Economics that public demand for air travel will grow year on year, as an essential part of lifestyle choices.
  • A need to grow employment opportunities in Luton, and to eliminate poverty in the town by 2040.

The extraordinary events of 2020 and Coronavirus have shattered those foundation stones.

The CEO of London Heathrow has gone on record saying that it will be ten to fifteen years, 2030-2045, before their third runway is now needed.  If the economic recovery is more severe than predicted, it may never be needed at all.

Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports face threats of drastic downsizing in their current schedules, as airlines battle to save jobs and make revenue and save themselves. Both are now no longer full and any new growth that may slowly arise can be easily accommodated.

Public confidence in flying has hit a major low; health is now the foremost concern. Sitting for hours in a tube, however well it may be ventilated, is not top of many lists. Household incomes face years of tight budgeting. Holidays and weekend breaks will now become a luxury rather than a necessity, at whatever low prices they may be offered at. Could you really relax and enjoy a break, from which you might well pick up a very unwanted holiday souvenir?

Large numbers of airline staff in the UK and around the world are laid off and furloughed as demand falls. Without airlines to fly, airports will also have to resort to these sad measures in the very near future.

Aviation has always been a very cyclical industry, at the whim of such things as: a health crisis like the one we see now; fluctuations in fuel prices; or an airline cutting services or folding completely for commercial reasons. All these directly impact employment at the airports that airlines serve, but are all outside the control of those same staff that are worried about their jobs.

We believe these three simple statements of fact, have destroyed any firm foundations the Council’s expansion plans may have ever had.

Is it morally and financially wise to continue to spend millions of pounds of public money trying to build on those cracked and unsafe foundations?

We believe that the time has come for Luton Borough Council to publicly announce that all airport expansion plans in whatever form, are now closed. Employment at the current site needs to be safeguarded, diverse and more economically stable employment opportunities around the town need to be encouraged, and the real time poverty issues in Luton addressed before any more money is spent on airport growth.

The huge sums already recklessly and irresponsibly gambled on the airport will take years to pay off. Please let’s not continue this obsession which will only add to those huge sums.

Stop Luton Airport Expansion NOW

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