29 MARCH 2021


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Article from BTNews 29 MARCH 2021

Southampton Airport decision

April date for final ruling.

Plans to extend Southampton Airport’s single runway by 164m to allow the operation of the larger Airbus A320 series and Boeing 737 types have been put on hold following a decision by a local council committee not to support a go-ahead decision by its own officers.

The matter will now go to a council meeting on 8 April where the proposals will finally be decided.

Responding to the vote, airport operations director Steve Szalay said: "The committee... has gone against the majority of Eastleigh residents who expressed their support during the consultation.”

Southampton Airport serves the port of Southampton and is also the gateway to the Channel Islands.  It is owned by AGS who also operate Aberdeen and Glasgow airports.  The nearest alternative airport for European travel is Heathrow 60 miles away.  It was hit particularly hard by the collapse of Flybe, its largest tenant.

The decision is seen as a political move by anti-airport and environmental lobbyists, it being pointed out that the aircraft that could use the extended runway are quieter and more eco-friendly than the ones being replaced.  

Mr Szalay had the final word: "This is far from over. We now welcome the opportunity to present our plans to the full council."


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David Starkie, United Kingdom

At the hearings last week, the local MP spoke in favour as did the Leader of Hants CC. However, Bournemouth Airport objected (to be expected) as did, surprisingly, Southampton Council (perhaps wanting to show its green credentials thinking that Eastleigh will vote it through). Interestingly, the airport, though in Eastleigh is part of the designated Free-port (together with the adjacent, old railway works). Will rejection of the airport proposal sink the Freeport? Other supporters of the runway extension included NATS (HQ nearby), local chambers of commerce, and the cruise line industry.