Southampton Airport has launched a six-week public consultation seeking feedback on its draft Master Plan which sets out its long-term vision for growth.
The Master Plan details how the airport plans to grow and continue to support the region over the next 20 years. It includes passenger forecasts and infrastructure requirements to meet the growing demand for air travel to and from the region. It also highlights the development of a runway starter extension as well as the expansion of the existing terminal building.
The airport is a key driver of the Hampshire economy and aims to support in excess of 1,500 jobs and contribute £400m to the economy per annum by 2037. Crucially, the Master Plan also details the way in which Southampton Airport plans to grow in a responsible and sustainable manner.
Neil Garwood, managing director of Southampton Airport, said: “Southampton Airport is a key component of Hampshire’s transport infrastructure and, as one of the largest employers, it makes a significant contribution to the local economy. Our Master Plan details the investment and development required to not only maintain, but importantly how to improve our region’s future connectivity and economic prosperity.
“There are constraints which we must, together with our local communities, overcome if we are to realise our ambition. Southampton Airport has one of the shortest runways in the UK and is unable to provide the same breadth of European air services that other regional airports can offer. We are therefore keen to address this to allow us to provide an enhanced choice of air services to European destinations for our customers and the region as a whole.
“We are fully committed to growing the airport responsibly and looking forward to hearing your ideas on the continued development of our airport. All comments will be carefully considered and taken into account when preparing the final version of the Master Plan.”
The Eastleigh MP Mims Davies said: “This is great news for the community that the ability to fly and work at Southampton Airport will be increased. As the local member of parliament, it’s my aim to make sure those great opportunities for our local businesses or holiday-makers are balanced with environmental concerns and the challenge of growing. My experience of the airport is that they are a good friendly neighbour and I’ll be making sure we are all working together to deliver the thriving airport with a strong environmental footprint.”
Robin Shepherd, partner at Southampton planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore, whose team has carried out extensive research into the relationships between airports and the cities they are situated in, said: “Expansion at Southampton has been under discussion for years, and it is a bold and welcome move for the airport to now begin this consultation. There will inevitably be concerns voiced but it is vital that the business community gets behind this, particularly when it comes to discussing and communicating the immense benefits the expansion would bring to the region.
“Everyone knows we need the economy to grow, and expansion of the airport is a major mechanism to achieve that – not just for Southampton but for the region as a whole. We now have an opportunity to leverage huge benefits, but we must do this while making sure that the relationship between the city, the airport, and the wider economy is fully understood. There are exciting infrastructure developments in the south – we have smart motorways under development, and schemes like the potential South Hampshire light rail schemes coming in and out of view.
“Throughout this consultation and beyond, it’s important that we don’t separate the community, rail, road and airport in our thinking. It doesn’t have to be a win/lose situation – with vision and clear thinking, this could be a win for everyone.”