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Sustainability must match airport’s expansion plans, says airport owner’s CEO

ALL FUTURE growth at London Luton Airport must be green growth, says the new chief executive of the airport’s owner.

Graham Olver has pledged to supplement London Luton Airport Ltd’s reputation as the UK’s number one community airport owner by it also becoming one of UK’s most sustainable.

He will work closely with Luton Council, which runs LLAL, to ensure that the airport company supports delivery of the council’s 2040 Vision for Luton as a place to thrive, where no one should live in poverty and a net zero carbon town.

Mr Olver said: “I am quite clear that all future growth at London Luton Airport must be green growth. This must look at the whole picture, going beyond delivering improvements aimed at decarbonising the operation of our airport, and taking a systemic approach that puts climate change, air quality, noise impacts and integrated public transport at the heart of the story.

“This is an imperative to ensure that we can play a leading role delivering a sustainable economic recovery for our town and the region as we help our communities emerge from the impacts of coronavirus.”

Graham Olver

Mr Olver  joined LLAL as chief strategy officer in 2019 following a career developing critical infrastructure assets around the world. He will lead the airport company’s focus on   delivering the most long-term benefit to local communities and regional economic and employment growth in a post-pandemic recovery. 

Mr Olver succeeds Robin Porter, whose duties as Luton Council chief executive include working with council leader Cllr Hazel Simmons as LLAL’s shareholder representative.

LLAL chair Cllr Andy Malcolm said: “2020 has been the most challenging year ever experienced for aviation and Graham has set out not only our path to recovery but also taken us forward in our approach to taking responsibility for the environment as well as for those who live and work nearby.

“The benefits of London Luton Airport stretch far beyond Luton and Bedfordshire as a major source of employment and wealth for the region.”

The airport supports around 27,000 jobs regionally, including in its supply chains. It has reinvested more than £400 million into communities over the past 20 years, “a rate that is simply unmatched in this country and, to the best of our knowledge, anywhere in the world,” said Mr Olver.

“My mission is to make sure that we establish equally serious environmental credentials so that, in partnership with our operator, London Luton Airport can become without question a leading player in sustainable aviation operations.”

The DART rapid transit system linking London Luton Airport and Luton Parkway rail station.

The Luton DART rapid transit link between the airport and Luton Parkway railway station is a “step change” in passenger travel to and from the airport. Long-term plans to expand the airport to accommodate 32 million passengers a year must deliver against global, UK and the airport’s environmental ambitions, he added.

Cllr Malcolm said: “We have a unique opportunity to play a leading role delivering greener aviation solutions for our regional and north London markets and an improved quality of life and prosperity for residents and businesses at the heart of the emerging Oxford to Cambridge Arc.”


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