The Transport Secretary toured the recently opened Stobart Jet Centre and also visited the Control Tower and Terminal with Glyn Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Stobart Aviation (that owns London Southend Airport), Kate Willard, Head of Corporate Projects, Stobart Group and Rochford and Southend East MP James Duddridge.
Mr Grayling said “There’s loads of different routes and lots of capacity – they’ve really done a fantastic job and it is really exciting to see the airport succeeding. This really matters as we have got such a shortage of capacity in the South East of England, and although we are looking at expansion at Heathrow Airport, what we need is capacity now so having an airport that is succeeding like London Southend is, is really valuable for the South East.”
He added “One of the reasons for being here today is having a discussion about what the transport needs are going to be for the future. As we design rail franchises and plan future road improvements, as the airport grows it is really important that we ensure it has got the right connections to the right services - so in terms of our planning for the future, it is about understanding what the airport aspirations are and what needs to happen.”
The Transport Secretary’s visit came the same day that a new route to Châteauroux in the Loire Valley operated by IGAvion got underway with a traditional water arch salute.
Glyn Jones says “This is the third new airline that London Southend has attracted in 2018 – we recently announced flights to Malta, Sardinia and Sicily with Air Malta starting on 4 May, and a new Logan Air route to Carlisle Lake District Airport gets underway on 4 June. Today’s visit by the Secretary of State just goes to demonstrate yet again that London Southend is a big airport in the making and one to watch. There’s a reason we’ve been voted ‘Best London Airport’ five times in a row, and that is because we offer the strategic advantages and capacity that airlines want, including fast access to London, and a unique customer service that our passengers love. This is just the start, we’ve more big plans for 2018 in the pipeline.”
Flights to Châteauroux now operate twice weekly (Thursday & Sunday) with tickets starting from €49 per person one way (including taxes and 12kg checked luggage), and can be booked now at www.igavion.fr