Why do we need a runway extension?
In April 2021, Eastleigh Borough Council approved the airport’s application for a 164-metre extension to the northern end of our runway. The runway extension, which remains fully within our current boundaries, is absolutely critical to our viability as a regional airport.
The collapse of Flybe – which provided 89% of our passengers – placed the future of Southampton Airport in very real doubt. The airport’s runway length is no longer suitable for today’s modern airline fleets, so there is an urgent and pressing need to attract new airlines to the airport.
By extending the runway by just 164 metres, the approved application will make the airport economically viable for a wider range of carriers – guaranteeing our viability, safeguarding regional connectivity, and protecting thousands of jobs across the South linked to our operations.
Did the runway extension enjoy support from local people?
Eastleigh Borough Council undertook four extensive public consultations, giving residents and businesses opportunities to have their say on the runway extension proposal. As an airport, we were greatly encouraged that a clear majority of respondents expressed their support for the runway extension. 60.1% of planning file comments had backed the plans by April 2021, including a majority of respondents from Eastleigh postcodes (SO50 and SO53).
We were also pleased to receive the overwhelming support of the local business community, notably from Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, Business South, and the Eastleigh Business Improvement District (BID).
Will the runway extension have an impact on local highways?
Our approved plans will deliver a cap on growth to no more than 3 million passengers per year – though we would not expect to reach this figure until 2033. One way in which this will be enforced is through a new control on the number of vehicle trips into and out of the airport.
The control, which has been confirmed as acceptable for highway capacity by Hampshire County Council, will ensure that the airport does not contribute negatively to congestion on the local and strategic road network. We will also continue to encourage passengers to access the airport via more sustainable modes of travel, such as public transport.
While there is currently no limit on vehicle movements to the airport, our approved plans allow Eastleigh Borough Council to monitor and enforce a cap. As a result, our runway extension gives Eastleigh Borough Council more control over the airport than it had before.
Will the runway extension affect noise?
As a responsible neighbour, the quality of life and wellbeing of our communities matters to Southampton Airport. We listened carefully during the public consultations on the runway extension and engaged closely with Eastleigh Borough Council on noise.
Our approved plans will deliver a cap on noise. The consent from Eastleigh Borough Council includes a new control by limiting the level of noise permitted within a defined geographical area. While there is currently no limit on noise levels around the airport, our approved plans allow Eastleigh Borough Council to monitor and enforce a cap. As a result, our runway extension gives Eastleigh Borough Council more control over the airport than it had before.
Enhanced Noise Insulation Scheme
As part of its approved runway application, Southampton Airport has gone beyond the industry standard by agreeing to fund noise insulation measures in all homes and noise-sensitive public buildings (schools, hospitals, and care homes) affected by 60 decibels, rather than 63.
This enhanced noise insulation scheme is an integral part of the planning consent, so any issues arising from legal challenges or appeals would delay the provision of greater noise insulation.
We will be proactively reaching out to eligible residents and occupiers in tandem with the construction process, once this begins.
Preferred routes and monitoring
All aircraft operating at the airport must use our Noise Preferred Routes (NPRs). We monitor compliance and hold airlines to account.
Continued engagement on noise complaints
We will continue to engage with the Southampton Airport Consultative Committee and respond to any residents who have noise concerns. For more information, please click here.
When will construction of the runway begin?
Southampton Airport is keen to deliver this important project for the region as soon as we have satisfied the planning conditions set out by Eastleigh Borough Council. Construction should take approximately 32 weeks and will follow strict rules agreed with the Council.
Given that the next steps for the judicial review are in the hands of the Courts and legal process, we cannot give clear guidance on the likely construction start date for the runway extension. However, with the support of the clear majority of the local community, we are resolutely committed to these runway extension plans and the 2,500 jobs that it will protect and enable.
Once we have an update, we’ll update this website, as well as relevant site neighbours.
Will the runway proposals involve an expansion of the airport’s boundaries?
No. Our approved plans will not lead to an expansion of the airport site. Southampton’s longer runway will be fully contained within the current airport boundary.
Will there be any change to the airport’s flying hours?
No. As a good neighbour, we have been committed to a no night flights policy since 1991, and we will keep to this pledge.
There are no plans to change the airport’s flying hours and the runway extension will not lead to night flights. Our flying hours are subject to planning condition and must be limited to between:
Mon – Sat 06.00 to 23.00
Sun: 07.30 to 23.00
How is the airport addressing Climate Change?
At Southampton Airport, we are passionate about delivering a greener, more sustainable future and committed to working with residents and local authorities to tackle the Climate Emergency.
For further information on how we are reducing our carbon impact, as well as our recent achievement of Carbon Neutral status, please review our Tackling Climate Change Fact Sheet and the Carbon Neutrality and Sustainability section of this webpage.
How is the airport addressing air quality?
Southampton Airport has modelled the effects of the development on air quality in 72 locations around the airfield site. It has been demonstrated that the proposed development will have no significant impact on local air quality or odour.
Offset all CO2 Emissions
As of May 2020, all of our CO2 emissions identified in our carbon footprint are offset.
One of the first UK airports to offset all CO2 emissions
We are amongst the very first airports in the UK to offset all of our CO2 emissions, making this a tremendous achievement not just for the airport but Eastleigh, and regional transport.
Reduced carbon emissions
We have reduced our carbon emissions by nearly 80% since 2015.
Offset emissions created by passengers and staff
As well as our own emissions, we have offset those created by passengers and staff journeying to and from the airport, from the landing and take-off cycle to third-party emissions generated on site.
Continue to reduce emissions
We will continue to work with Eastleigh Borough Council to reduce our emissions and achieve Net Zero.
Flying regionally is better for the planet
Flying regionally reduces carbon emissions, producing less CO2 and easing road congestion compared with travelling to larger hub airports to fly. Our calculations show that a passenger flying to Bordeaux from a Southampton postcode would generate 20% less CO2 than flying from Gatwick, and nearly 30% less than driving to Bordeaux.
For more information, please read our Carbon Neutral newsletter.
AGS Airports is fully engaged with the Jet Zero Council and sits on the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Delivery Group. At Southampton Airport, we are committed to the UK Aviation Net Zero Action Plan, which sets out the deliverable roadmap for the UK aviation industry to reach Net Zero. Read more about the Action Plan below:
UK Aviation Net Zero Action Plan