Passenger numbers using Southend Airport will remain flat in the short term as it seeks to attract more airlines.
The disclosure came from parent company Stobart Group as it revealed annual financial results for the year to February 28.
The group’s aviation division saw underlying earnings soar from £100,000 to £1.4 million year-on-year based on a 16.3% rise in revenue to £23.6 million.
Stobart chief executive, Andrew Tinkler, said the group’s focus was on getting new airlines to use Southend Airport.
EasyJet, Flybe and Skywork Airlines are the main carriers at Southend, with Adria Airways starting flights to Maribor in Slovenia from next month.
“We are seeing interest from a number of large European operators who consider London Southend Airport a very attractive option to serve the London market,” said Tinkler.
“In the short term we are expecting passenger numbers to remain flat while we build these partnerships with new operators and extend relationships with existing operators to deliver sustainable routes.”
The infrastructure and a new management team are in place to deliver our target of over 2.5 million passengers a year by 2018, according to Tinkler.
The Essex airport has capacity to handle up to 5 million annual passengers through its new terminal.
Passenger numbers using the airport grew by 9% to 1.1 million in the year, with revenue per passenger up by 8.5% to £20.80.
“We offer significant peak capacity availability and fast turnaround times at a low cost base for airlines that want a hassle-free experience for their customers,” Tinkler said.
“Access to the airport is good with a regular rail connection to Liverpool Street Station taking around 50 minutes and plenty of parking availability for passengers travelling by car.
“Our customers are important to us and after listening to them we improved the new terminal catering facilities and developed safer and more efficient security arrangements.”