London Southend Airport achieves huge passenger growth

London Southend Airport is set to reach its two million passengers target some five years ahead of schedule, bbc.co.uk reports.

Originally, the Essex airport was given the task of reaching two million passengers by 2020, after the Stobart Group – which bought it in 2008 – set about a process of upgrades totalling around £120 million. Now it appears the target could not only be reached ahead of schedule, half a decade early.

The airport welcomed 970,000 passengers in 2013, with the figure for this year set to reach nearer 1.3 million. Looking ahead to 2015, meanwhile, the growth speeds up rather rapidly. This means that – provided the forecasts are correct – the two million mark could be reached by the end of next year.

Analysts have been rather unanimous in the reason for this growth, with the £120 million Stobart investment being cited as turning London Southend around. It brought to the airport more check-in desks, a larger departure lounge, brand new baggage reclaim facilities and five additional aeroplane stands.

With the two million target set to be reached, airport chiefs have now said they will turn their attention to helping the airport reach full capacity, at which point it could handle 5.5 million passengers.

Commenting on future plans, Stobart Air chief executive Andrew Tinkler told echo-news.co.uk: “It’s about having passengers and operators to fly to destinations that will drive [additional growth].”