Southend Airport is somewhere we at ABPS wish to visit more often, mainly because it means we are going on holiday and all of us here cannot wait for our summer escapes. However, we never realised how much of an impact and how long the airport has been there for us. Southend Airport is now at the same capacity as Luton as it celebrates five years as an EasyJet base...with ambitious plans to become bigger and better. More than four million passengers have flown out of the airport, run by Stobart Aviation, on over 32,000 easyJet flights since April 2012. Glyn Jones, chief executive of Stobart Aviation, told the Echo he hopes this is just the beginning - as he hopes Southend will become “the next big airport.” He spoke out as staff celebrated five years of success with the EasyJet. It now flies from Southend to 15 city and holiday destinations across Europe - with the most popular being Amsterdam, Alicante, Faro and Malaga.
Mr Jones said: “We want to be London’s next big airport. “We will have ten per cent more capacity this summer than there was. The work we are doing at the airport gives us enough capacity for 36 aircraft movements per hour. This is the same capacity as Luton”. His challenge as the airport expands to take on more routes and serve more passengers is to continue offering a positive experience - which many put down to Southend being a small airport. Mr Jones said: “Our customer satisfaction is currently at 86 per cent. We want to increase that to 87 per cent this year and to 90 per cent in five years”.
He added that the success of the airport is not only convenient for people living locally, but has also boosted the economy of the wider area by attracting investment. He put part of the airport’s success down to its transport links - with the direct train journey to London taking less than an hour. Neil Slaven, commercial manger of EasyJet, said that the airline is pleased with how well Southend Airport is performing. He said: “Since we launched our first flight from Southend to Belfast five years ago, we’ve flown over four million passengers and have almost doubled the amount of destinations we now operate from the airport. “Southend has become a really well established airport in the region. “When it was first opened there was quite a bit of scepticism. A lot of people said it wouldn’t work, but we have proven them wrong.
People in Southend are now really excited about it. We now have flights coming from our base in Palma, Mallorca, to Southend”. “We chose Southend because we really want to back and support the airport. We are working with the airport to make it a success and are fully committed to achieving this.” He added that EasyJet chose to operate from Southend due to a gap in the market in the region - with the nearest rival, Stansted, over an hour away by car.
He added they were also looking at the east of London market, which has been redeveloped following the London Olympics in 2012. A special event was held on Tuesday to mark the five-year anniversary of the partnership, with Rochford and Southend East MP James Duddridge attending. 5 years have passed with Southend airport as an EasyJet base and we at ABPS are looking forward to the many years to come, hopefully it will involve a large number of holidays for us!