Bournemouth Airport on Southampton runway extension approval

BOURNEMOUTH Airport chiefs have said they can still offer “an easier landing” for investors following the approval of Southampton Airport’s planned runway extension.

The proposals to lengthen the runway at the Hampshire airport were given the green light in the early hours of Saturday morning by Eastleigh Borough Council members.

This decision came after 19 hours of submissions and debate, with 22 councillors voting in favour of the plans to extend the runway by 164 metres.

The extension would create 1,000 jobs and result in a £15million investment in the local area.

However, objections from Bournemouth Airport, which is part of the Regional and City Airports group, and Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) raised concerns about the impact the proposals would have on the Hurn site.

A letter from Bournemouth Airport managing director Steve Gill said the planning application failed to account for displaced jobs and investment, with the applicant’s documents “almost entirely silent” in relation to the presence of Bournemouth Airport.

In a statement issued to the Daily Echo following the decision of Eastleigh councillors to approve the runway extension, Mr Gill said: “This decision has clearly been a contentious one, not least because of the continued success and capabilities already in place at Bournemouth Airport, which is only 30 minutes away.

“We already have a runway length of almost 7,500 ft and are capable of handling large of aircraft and international business, both passenger and freight. Furthermore, we have a successful, and growing, adjacent 200-acre industrial estate.

“Whilst the logistics now hit home of expanding the already constrained Southampton Airport even further, our message is simple: Bournemouth Airport is already offering all of this and more, alongside a high-tech aviation business on site. If investors are looking for an easier landing – come to Bournemouth.”

Dorset LEP submitted a strong objection to the plans but when approached by the Daily Echo after the approval of the planning application, a spokesperson said the business organisation said: “We have no additional comments at this time.”

On the approval, Southampton Airport’s operations director Steve Szalay said: “This is the news we have been hoping for and working so hard to achieve.

“By listening to the overwhelming public and business support, as well as the planning officer’s recommendation to approve, the councillors have safeguarded the future of the airport.

“The decision also ensures we are well placed to provide employment and support the region as we seek to recover post pandemic. We are excited about our future.”

Bournemouth Echo | News