* indicates required

Parliament hosts exhibition to celebrate London Luton Airport’s 80th anniversary

Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, and aviation minister Baroness Sugg talked with the airport’s chairman Clive Condie, chief executive Nick Barton and Luton South MP Gavin Shuker about the airport and its plans for the future, centred on the £150 million expansion currently under way.

The newly extended terminal building is due to open this year, when work will also begin on the new Mass Passenger Transit system that will shuttle passengers between Luton Airport Parkway railway station and the airport 24 hours a day.

The expansion project aims to increase annual capacity at London Luton by 50% to 18 million passengers.

Mr Shuker said: “I am incredibly proud to represent London Luton Airport as part of my constituency. I hope MPs from all sides of the House will visit the exhibition this week and learn about the airport’s rich history and bright future.

“I have already joined the airport in lobbying the Department for Transport for the introduction of an express-style rail service and I invite others to do the same to ensure London Luton Airport can reach its full potential.”

Despite being London’s fastest-growing major airport, Luton remains the only one without an express-style rail service. Airport bosses are campaigning for four trains per hour to stop at Luton Airport Parkway as part of the new East Midlands rail franchise.

This can be achieved through a simple timetable change that would require no capital expenditure and would create significant economic growth in the local region and across the UK, they say.

Airport chief executive Nick Barton said: “The airport has come a long way in 80 years. The exhibition celebrates our history but also looks to the future, as this anniversary year will see some of the airport’s biggest changes.

“To ensure the airport thrives for another 80 years, we need to ensure rail links are as strong as they can be. We have that opportunity as part of the East Midlands rail franchise, which allows us to create an express-style rail service to the airport through a simple timetable change.

“We are working with the government and rail operators to try to make this happen.”

More from Bedford: