The new operations director of Southampton Airport is urging the local community, businesses and organisations to get behind the airport’s plans to extend its runway – or risk losing thousands of jobs vital to the recovery of the local economy.
Speaking at the start of a second public consultation on the planning application to enable a 164 metre runway extension within existing boundaries, Steve Szalay said: “The UK is experiencing a huge economic downturn, the worst this country has ever seen.
“The runway extension is essential to ensuring we not just recover but thrive - the success of the region and the airport are absolutely intertwined.
“With the impact to employment from this pandemic already weighing heavy, we can do something to secure the jobs at the airport by getting this extension built. If we don’t, the reality is that more than 2,000 jobs will be at risk, creating a huge knock-on impact on thousands of local households.
“A highly connected regional airport is vital to the recovery of the regional economy. To achieve its potential, our region needs a successful airport that can provide strong air connectivity.
“The extra length of runway will enable us to bring in the routes and airlines needed to drive the recovery of the economy and support local business and trade.”
The four week public consultation has commenced to allow the public to review new information submitted in an updated planning application. It follows a first public consultation held in November – December last year.
“During the first consultation, we received a tremendous amount of positive feedback, and naturally concerns and questions over what the extra 164 metres of runway would mean for local residents and we have addressed those in our revised application,” said Mr Szalay.
“This is not about airport expansion, it is not about bigger planes. It is about enabling us to use existing aircraft more efficiently and effectively and creating vital extra connectivity for the region.
“We have received strong support from local politicians and business groups who champion the importance of the airport on Eastleigh and our surrounding region – but now is the time to get behind us and show your support.”
A new website for supporters is being launched this week which will contain detailed information on the revised planning application and a link to the Eastleigh Borough Council planning portal where members of the local community can leave their comments.
Further details will be released shortly.
The link to the planning portal is:
Planning App Ref: F/19/86707