Investment and Expansion of services continues at London Ashford Airport

An upbeat assessment of investment plans and continued expansion of new aviation services has been provided by London Ashford Airport at Lydd in Kent.

Addressing members of the Lydd Airport Consultative Committee, Hani Mutlaq (Executive Manager) outlined the encouraging progress being made on investments and business growth at the airport.

Central to Lydd’s ambitious development plans is the construction of a runway extension and the building of a new terminal licensed to handle up to 500,000 passengers a year. Planning consent has already been granted for both.

Hani reported that the airport’s legal team is in the final stages of negotiations to buy an area of agricultural land to enable the existing 1,500m runway to be extended. The work will involve lengthening the runway by 294m plus a 150m starter area.

Acknowledging that delays in securing the land had proved frustrating, Hani said that a purchase and compensation package is still under negotiation with the land owners. Once agreed, tenders for the project will then be prepared and issued and he predicted that work would start on the runway “by summer 2018 with work completed by early 2019”.

Meanwhile, rising demand for more business and general aviation facilities has led to managers spending more than £850,000 on adding two hangars. “Such is the demand that both new hangars are virtually full and we have a waiting list, so we will be taking a decision soon on investing in even more hangar space at Lydd,” said Hani.

Bristow, which has operated Search and Rescue helicopter services from Lydd for the past 18 months from a temporary hangar, has committed its future to the airport by investing millions of pounds in building a permanent base. Construction work is expected to start this spring. The operation employs around 30 staff and more jobs are likely to be created as part of Bristow’s investment.

Flight training specialist Go Fly London set up a base in Lydd in 2016 and has installed a £100,000 flight simulator on site. A range of courses are provided that are enabling students from the UK and overseas to use the facility to learn to fly and gain a full light aircraft pilot’s licence (LAPL).

The Lydd Airport Consultative Committee was established to boost links between the airport and the community on Romney Marsh. Chaired by Fred Wood-Brignall, a highlt respected former County Councillor, its members include representatives of airport users, local businesses, residents, Folkestone and Hythe District Council, parish councils plus Dungeness power station and the Lydd fire ranges.

The airport has spent £35m upgrading facilities over the past decade, including the installation of an instrument landing system, a new executive terminal with VIP facilities, improved passenger check-in and security, and a new departure lounge. The airport caters for a range of aircraft operations and provides extensive services, including air traffic control and navigational aids, an FBO with 24-hour operating capability, full terminal services, engineering and cargo services.

London Ashford Airport is the perfect base for airline operators. Once completed, the runway extension will enable Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft types to fly with a full payload of passengers, maximising the availability of routes an aircraft choice to operators and providing much-needed additional airport capacity in the South East.

Read our London Ashford Airport Success Story