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Bright future beckons for planes, trains and automobiles, AGM hears

London Luton Airport’s in-coming chief executive Nick Barton updated more than 100 guests at the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership’s AGM, held at Luton Hoo, on the £100 million plan to transofmr the airport and increase passenger capacity by eight million to 18 million by 2026.

The plans include significant investment in both remodelling the existing terminal building and improving transport access. This will not only increase capacity, but also simplify the passenger journey both to and through the airport, said Mr Barton.

The proposals will deliver further improvements to the train service, which currently takes 21-minutes from St Pancras, as well as improving way finding around the terminal, shortening waiting times and opening up potential new destinations for carriers.

“London Luton Airport is a vital asset to this area with excellent connectivity, and with connectivity there are jobs,” said Mr Barton.

He was joined at the podium by Hal Reisiger, chief executive of high-performance engineering company Cosworth, which has moved into its newly expanded premises on SEMLEP’s Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone.

Mr Reisiger said: “Our new facility is a showcase for the future. SEMLEP and central government acted quickly, so that last year we were looking at a business plan and already, as of this month, we are open and operational. We will soon celebrate 50 years in Northampton and look forward to another 50 years here.”

East-West Rail project manager Patrick O’Sulivan unveiled plans for phase two of the East-West rail and told delegates that a recent assessment had revealed that the line, which will connect Aylesbury and Oxford with Milton Keynes and Bedford by March 2019, could boost the regional economy by £72.7 million a year.

 This will substantially improve rail connections for business and leisure travel. When the line is completed, 41 out 65 UK cities will be accessible by rail from stations on the East West Rail line, with no more than one change. 

Pictured (from left): Patrick O’Sullivan; SEMLEP chief executive Daniel Mouawad; Hal Reisiger; SEMLEP chair Dr Ann Limb; Nick Barton.