Stage 1 of the terminal became operational in February 2012. Passengers flying out from the airport wait for a maximum of 4-minutes for security, whilst those arriving with just hand luggage can expect to travel from plane to train within 15 minutes of leaving the aircraft. This Stage 2 extensionis to ensure these high standards of service – which passengers clearly love, proven by the recent Which? Best Airport in Britain award - are not compromised as passenger numbers grow over time.
The terminal building is becoming 90 metres longer. The first phase of this extension - a new Arrivals area - became operational back in June, just in time for the arrival of fourth based easyJet aircraft and the start of flights to Berlin and Krakow.It has enhanced baggage reclaim facilities and additional space for immigration as well as a dedicated domestic arrivals route. Five additional aircraft stands were also completed at the same time; significantly increasing the airport’s capacity.
Work now underway will mean the amount of space for passengers in the security area will increase, as will the number of check in desks / baggage drop off points – there will also be a new covered walkway directly connecting the train station and terminal (just 100 paces apart). The Departure Lounge will also grow in size to enhance the experience for passengers relaxing and awaiting boarding after security. Retail and catering facilities will also be expanded throughout the terminal over time in order to provide a much wider range of shops and services available to passengers.
The entire project will complete in early 2014 and willenable 300 new, local jobs. These will arise from the increase in Southend based aircraft over time which will result in a variety of additional operational and service roles.
Work is also just getting underway on modifications to a number of the aircraft stands so more can accommodate the easyJet A320 aircraft, which will be operating flights to the winter sun destination of Tenerife. These start on 13 December, with tickets on sale now.
London Southend Airport Operations Director David Lister said “Because of our ‘simply easier’ philosophy in all we do, Southend Airport is quickly becoming the airport of choice for people across Essex, London and beyond. That is why we are developing the terminal in order that we can maintain our unique level of customer service as we grow. With much debate about future airport capacity in the South East, we feel this continuing investment at London Southend demonstrates the significant capability which now exists here.”