London Luton Airport

London Luton Airport

Infobox Airport
name = London Luton Airport
nativename =

image-width = 157
type = Public
owner = TBI plc
operator = London Luton Airport Operations Ltd
city-served = London, England
location = Luton
elevation-f = 526
elevation-m = 160
website = []
metric-rwy = yes
r1-number = 08/26
r1-length-f = 7,087
r1-length-m = 2,160
r1-surface = Asphalt
stat-year = 2006
stat1-header = Aircraft Movements
stat1-data = 116,131
stat2-header = Passengers
stat2-data = 9,425,908
footnotes = Source: United Kingdom AIP [ [ UK Aeronautical Information Service] ]
Statistics from the UK CAA [ Aircraft Movements] , [ Air Passengers by Type and Nationality of Operator] ]

London Luton Airport Airport codes|LTN|EGGW (previously called Luton International Airport) cite web | title = Airport History | publisher = London Luton Airport | url = | accessdate =2007-07-16 ] is an international airport located on the edge of the town of Luton, Bedfordshire, England approximately convert|30|mi|km|0 north of London. The airport is 2 miles (3 km) from junction 10a of the M1 motorway. It is the fourth largest airport serving the London area after Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted and is one of London's five international airports along with London City Airport.

In 2007, total passengers at London Luton increased by 5.3% to 9,927,321 [ [ CAA Airport Statistics 2007] ] making it the fifth busiest airport in the UK. The airport serves as a hub for easyJet, Monarch Airlines, Thomsonfly, Wizz Air and Ryanair. [ cite web | title = Key Facts | publisher = London Luton Airport | url = | accessdate =2007-07-16 ] Most of the routes served are within Europe, however there are some charter airline routes to intercontinental destinations.


Early history

An airport was opened on the site on the 16 July, 1938 by the Secretary of State for Air, Kingsley Wood. During the Second World War it was a base for Royal Air Force fighters. The topography of the Luton area, situated where the valley of the River Lea cuts its way through the north-east end of the Chiltern Hills, has influenced the location of the airport.fact|date=May 2007 The airport occupies a hill-top location, with a drop-off about 40 metres at the western end of the runwayOrdnance Survey (2006). "OS Explorer Map 182 - St Albans & Hatfield". ISBN 9780319237809.] Ordnance Survey (2006). "OS Explorer Map 193 - Luton & Stevenage". ISBN 9780319237830.] [] .

Following the war the land was returned to the local council who continued activity at the airport as a commercial operation, providing a base for charter airlines such as Autair (which went on to become Court Line), Euravia (now TUI, following previous growth as Britannia Airways) and Monarch Airlines.In 1949 English Electric set up a missile development site on the northern slope of the airport which when closed in the 60's became the base for Carass Airways Catering. fact|date=May 2007 In 1972, Luton Airport was the most profitable airport in the country. It suffered a severe setback in August 1974 when a major package holiday operator, Clarksons, scheduling flights via its airline Court Line (which also operated local bus services), went bankrupt.

1980s and 1990s

The next fifteen years saw a process of rebuilding, including the opening of a new international terminal in 1985. In 1990, the airport was renamed London Luton Airport to re-emphasize the airport's connection to the UK capital. In 1991, another setback occurred when Ryanair, who had flown from the airport to Ireland for a number of years, transferred its base of operations to Stansted. Later in the 90s, MyTravel Group began charter flights from the airport, using the "Airtours" brand and new 'low cost' scheduled flights from Debonair and easyJet, the latter making Luton its hub.

In August 1997, to fund a £80 million extension of the airport, the council issued a 30 year management contract to a public private partnership consortium, London Luton Airport Operations Limited , which was headed by Barclays Bank. Barclays later sold to TBI plc.

The main feature of the development phase in 1998 was a £40 million terminal made from aluminium and glass, based on an original design by Foster and Partners which The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh officially opened in November 1999. The new terminal houses 60 check-in desks, baggage and flight information systems and a wide range of shops, restaurants and bars.

Recent history

In September 2004, development work started on a major project to transfer departures from the International Terminal Building built in 1985, to the previously unused first floor of the 1999 Terminal Building, a convert|9000|sqft|m2|-2|abbr=on area featuring a spectacular vaulted ceiling, which was completed with the new terminal, but intended to lie unused until required. The new departure hall opened on schedule on 1 July 2005 and features a new boarding pier extending 200 metres out between the airport's north & east Aprons and relocated security, customs and immigration facilities. In January 2005, London Luton Airport Operations Limited was acquired by Airport Concessions Development Limited, a company owned by Abertis Infraestructuras (90%) and Aena Internacional (10%), both Spanish companies. Abertis is a European infrastructure provider, whilst Aena Internacional is the international business arm of the Spanish national airport and air traffic control organisation.All business-class airline Silverjet operated flights to Newark Liberty International and Dubai International Airport from a dedicated terminal between 2006 and 2008 however the airline has since ceased operations.

Development plans and the future

In 2004 the airport management announced [ [ London Luton Airport - Future Developments] ] that they supported the government plans to expand the facilities to include a full-length runway and a new terminal. [ [ Luton and Distric Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise - Communities affected] ] . However, local campaign groups, including Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN) [ [ Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise - Campaign Headlines] ] and Stop Luton Airport Plan (SLAP) [ [ Stop Luton Airport Plan] ] opposed the new expansion plans, for reasons including noise pollution and traffic concerns; LADACAN also claimed that various sites, including Someries Castle, a Scheduled Monument, would be threatened by the expansion. On 6 July 2007 it was announced that the owners of London Luton Airport decided to scrap plans to build a second runway and new terminal due to financial reasons. [ [ New runway plans at Luton shelved] ]

The airport today

The airport possesses a single runway, running roughly east to west, with a length of 7087 feet (2160 metres) at an elevation of 525 feet (160 m). The runway is equipped with an Instrument Landing System rated to Category IIIB, allowing the airport to continue operating in conditions of poor visibility.cite web | url = | title = Luton Airport Technical Data | publisher = TMC Ltd | accessdate = December 20 | accessyear = 2006] cite web | url = | title = Community Newsletter - August 2006 | publisher = London Luton Airport | accessdate = December 21 | accessyear = 2006] All the airport facilities lie to the north of the runway. The terminal and aprons have a somewhat unusual layout, with ground-side access to the terminal being via a road tunnel to a bus station, drop off area, taxi rank and short term car park on the runway side of the terminal building. Most of the aircraft stands are located on the northern side of the terminal building, away from the runway and connected to it by a 'U' shaped set of taxiways and aprons that together encircle the terminal.Ordnance Survey (2006). "OS Explorer Map 182 - St Albans & Hatfield". ISBN 9780319237809.] Ordnance Survey (2006). "OS Explorer Map 193 - Luton & Stevenage". ISBN 9780319237830.]

The northern side of the U shaped apron is ringed by a continuous line of hangars and other buildings, emphasing the fact that Luton is a major maintenance base for several airlines including Thomsonfly, Monarch Airlines and easyJet. By contrast to the heavily built up apron area, the airport's southern boundary is entirely rural with only a few isolated farm buildings and houses close to the airport boundary.Ordnance Survey (2006). "OS Explorer Map 182 - St Albans & Hatfield". ISBN 9780319237809.] Ordnance Survey (2006). "OS Explorer Map 193 - Luton & Stevenage". ISBN 9780319237830.]

The airport remains in municipal ownership, owned by Luton Borough Council but managed by the private sector London Luton Airport Operations Limited (LLOAL). London Luton Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P835) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. An indicator of the importance of the airport to the economy of Luton is that Luton is reported to have the highest number of taxicabs per head of population in the United Kingdom. [ [ "Luton South"] , UK Polling Report] The airport has become even more critical to the future of Luton given the recent closure of the Vauxhall Motors factory.

Airport statistics

London Luton Airport in the media

London Luton Airport is widely known as a result of the "Airline" and Luton Airport (TV series)|"| Luton Airport" television series. "Airline" follows the staff of easyJet at Luton and the airline's other hubs across the country whilst the 2005 series, named after the airport followed the life of employees at the airport in a similar format to the show Airport which follows staff at London Heathrow Airport. The airport was also mentioned in a famous Campari advert featuring Lorraine Chase, with the punch line "Were you truly wafted here from paradise?". " Na Lut'n Airport". This advert was the inspiration for a 1979 UK hit by Cats U.K. entitled "Luton Airport". The airport was also mentioned in the Piranha Brothers sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus, as being the place where one of the brothers, Dinsdale, thinks that a giant hedgehog named Spiny Norman sleeps.

Ground transport


The airport lies a few miles away from the M1 motorway, which runs southwards to London, northwards to Leeds and connects to the M25 motorway. There is a short stay car park adjacent to the terminal, together with medium and long term on airport car parks to the west and east of the terminal respectively and linked to the terminal by shuttle buses. Pre-booked off airport parking is also available from several independent operators.


Luton Airport Parkway railway station was built in 1999 to serve the airport. It is positioned on the Midland Main Line.
First Capital Connect (FCC) is the principal operator, with services to Bedford, St Albans, London, Wimbledon, Sutton, Gatwick Airport and Brighton.
East Midlands Trains semi-fast services call hourly going south to London St Pancras and north to Leicester, Nottingham and Leeds. A shuttle bus service connects the station to the airport, a distance of just over a mile. To provide additional capacity, LLAOL have contracted the shuttle service to FCC (since 20 January 2008), whose parent company FirstGroup have invested £1.3 million in a fleet of four articulated buses labelled 'StreetCars'. The new buses are 18 metres long and can accommodate up to 115 passengers plus baggage.cite web| url=| author=Luton on Sunday| year=2008-01-20| title=Airport shuttle bus will charge in future| accessdate=2008-01-20]

Passengers with rail tickets are charged £1 for the shuttle bus while other passengers are charged £1.50. There are plans to replace the shuttle buses with a segregated tracked transit system. [ cite web | title = Blue Skies Easing the Pressure | publisher = The Monitor | url = | accessdate =2007-07-17 ]


Buses connect Luton Airport with Luton town centre and other local places. Direct bus services to London are operated by both Green Line Coaches and easyBus (with service to London Victoria). National Express coaches link the airport to London Stansted Airport as well as other towns in the midlands and north of England. [ cite web | title = By Bus & Coach | publisher = London Luton Airport | url = | accessdate =2007-07-17 ]

First Capital Connect ftr buses providing a link between the airport and Luton Airport Parkway railway station. This service runs every 10 minutes during the day and is branded as Train2PLane.

Transport from London

The fastest way to the airport is the Luton Airport Parkway train from London (30 minutes from St Pancras) then the Train2Plane bus between Parkway and the airport. National Express coach from London takes just over an hour.

Airlines and destinations

Luton is now also a major hub for several low-cost carriers, with scheduled services to many European destinations. Charter flights account for the remaining eight percent of the airport's passenger traffic.

The airport is also a centre for business jets, with an executive aviation base run by Harrods Aviation, part of the same group as London's Harrods department store. The airport is served by cargo airlines.. [ cite web | title = Harrods Aviation Introduction | publisher = Harrods Aviation | url = | accessdate =2007-07-17 ]

cheduled airlines

Scheduled airlines operating out of Luton include: [ cite web | title = Airlines | publisher = London Luton Airport | url = | accessdate =2007-07-17 ]
*Aer Arann (Galway, Waterford)
*easyJet (Aberdeen, Alicante, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Basel/Mulhouse, Belfast-International, Berlin-Schönefeld, Bordeaux, Budapest, Cagliari, Dortmund, Edinburgh, Faro, Geneva, Glasgow-International, Grenoble [seasonal] , Hamburg, Ibiza [seasonal] , Inverness, Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen, Jersey, Kraków, Lisbon, Madrid, Málaga, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Pisa, Turin [seasonal] , Vienna, Warsaw, Zurich)
*Flybe (Isle of Man)
*Monarch Airlines (Alicante, Almería [ends 2 November] , Arrecife, Faro, Gibraltar, Larnaca, Las Palmas [ends 27 October] , Mahon, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife-South)
*Ryanair (Beziers [begins 27 October] , Biarritz [begins 4 November] , Brest, Derry [begins 27 October] , Dublin, Girona, Kaunas [begins 28 October] , Kerry, Knock, Malta, Marrakech, Milan-Bergamo, Murcia, Nîmes, Reus, Rome-Ciampino [ends 25 October] , Rzeszow [begins 29 October] , Shannon, Szczecin [begins 28 October] , Trapani [begins 28 October] )
*SkyEurope (Bratislava, Kosice, Poprad/Tatry, Prague)
*Transavia (Rotterdam [begins 27 October] ) [ cite web | title = News - London Luton Airport | publisher = London Luton Airport | url = | accessdate =2008-09-15 ]
*Wizz Air (Bucharest-Băneasa, Bourgas, Budapest, Cluj-Napoca, Gdańsk, Katowice, Kiev [begins 17 December] , Poznan, Sofia, Timişoara [begins 27 October] , Warsaw, Wroclaw, Zagreb)

Charter operators

* Monarch Airlines (Bodrum)
* SunExpress (Antalya [begins 19 May 2009] , Dalaman [begins 18 May 2009] )
* Thomson Airways [From 1 May 2009] (Antalya [begins 5 May] , Arrecife [begins 3 May] , Bodrum [begins 7 May] , Bourgas [begins 22 May] , Corfu [begins 1 May] , Dalaman [begins 4 May] , Faro [begins 3 May] , Fuerteventura [begins 6 May] , Funchal [begins 4 May] , Heraklion [begins 7 May] , Ibiza [begins 1 May] , Larnaca [begins 6 May] , Las Palmas [begins 4 May] , Malaga [begins 3 May] , Minorca [begins 2 May] , Monastir [begins 3 May] , Palma de Mallorca [begins 1 May] , Paphos [begins 2 May] , Reus [begins 5 May] , Rhodes [begins 2 May] , Sharm el-sheikh [begins 1 May] , Tenerife-South [begins 3 May] , Thessaloniki [begins 4 May] , Zakynthos [begins 5 May] )
* Thomsonfly [Thomson Airways as of 1 May 2009] (Alicante, Arrecife, Bodrum, Bourgas, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Funchal, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kefalonia [ends 14 October] , Larnaca, Las Palmas, Mahon, Málaga, Monastir, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Reus, Rhodes, Thessaloniki, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South, Zakynthos)

Cargo operators

Cargo operators include: [ cite web | title = Cargo | publisher = London Luton Airport | url = | accessdate =2007-07-17 ]
* DHL Air
* MNG Airlines
* Varig Logística
* Antonov Airlines in assosiation with Air Foyle HeavyLift


External links

* [ Official website of London Luton Airport]
* [ London Luton Airport Consultative Committee]

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