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Luton Airport to open rail link bidding process

Luton Airport to open rail link bidding process

Luton Airport is set to open the bidding process for construction contracts in its £200 million rapid transit rail link scheme.

The airport plans to submit a planning application for the 2.2 km link from the terminal to Stirling Place near Luton Airport Parkway station as early as next month, Construction Enquirer reports.

Contracts will cover work ranging from the building of platforms and viaducts to cut-and-cover work, with the aim of the scheme being to cut journey times from London to the airport by 30 minutes. If permission is granted, work could start in 2017 and the link will be up and running four years later.

Funding for the project will come from Luton Borough Council, which is set to spend £1.5 billion on a range of projects aimed at transforming the town over the next 20 years. These include a long-awaited new stadium for Luton Town Football Club.

The airport has been one of Luton's great success stories at a time when Heathrow and Gatwick have been stealing the airport headlines as they competed for a new runway and Stansted has announced plans for a new terminal. 

Luton has been enjoying steady growth in passenger numbers in each of the last 32 months. October this year saw the annual figure passing the 14 million mark for the first time, while the numbers were 13 per cent up last month compared with November 2015.

In view of this, airport bosses recently announced plans for a £115 million expansion and investment programme to enable the airport to handle 20 million passengers by 2020.

They have also called on the government to use the upcoming renewal of the East Midlands rail franchise to address the fact that Luton is the only one of London's airports without a direct express rail link, an issue it regards as being separate from the new connection with Luton Airport Parkway.

It is not just in London and the south-east where airports are to get better public transport links, with Leeds City Council recently announcing that a new station will be built to serve Leeds-Bradford airport.

Image: LLA Press Release - Facebook post


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