Southampton Airport lodges runway extension plans

Plans have been submitted for a runway extension at Southampton Airport, which the owners say would allow passenger numbers to rise by 150 per cent over the next 20 years.

Southampton Airport. Image: Dave Hares
Southampton Airport. Image: Dave Hares

Owner AGS Airports is seeking permission from Eastleigh Borough Council for a 164 metre extension at the northern end of Southampton’s existing runway, a blast screen, and an additional 600 car parking spaces.

AGS said it is not seeking changes to flying hours or night-time flight restrictions but claimed the changes will support its aspirations to increase passenger numbers to five million a year by 2037, up from two million currently.

According to the company, Southampton Airport currently has one of the shortest runways in the UK.

A runway extension would allow the airport to accommodate larger narrow-body aircraft, the company said, increasing flight numbers from 39,300 in 2017 to 57,800 by 2037.

AGS said it will also seek permission for an extension to the airport terminal building to support its growth plans but that this work would be subject to a separate planning application in the future.

In a planning, design and access statement submitted in support of its application, AGS cited the Airports National Policy Statement, which sets out the government’s support for airports other than Heathrow making the best use of existing runways.

AGS noted that the Eastleigh local plan was adopted more than 13 years ago and said it believed policies relevant to its current application are out of date.

However, the company pointed to the emerging Eastleigh local plan, which was submitted for examination last October and states that the council will "support the expansion of the airport’s operations and related development".

The emerging local plan also states that expansion must be necessary for economic growth, operational efficiency, or passenger safety; not visually diminish the countryside gap between Eastleigh and Southampton; be supported by acceptable transport assessments; and not unacceptably increase noise or other environmental impacts.

Neil Garwood, managing director at Southampton Airport, said: "Our development plans have been carefully prepared by a project team including ecologists and technical experts, sensitive to the needs of the local community, including comprehensive noise and air quality management plans.

"In construction terms, the runway extension is relatively small, but the benefit it will make to our region’s connectivity is significant."

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