Growing London Luton Airport


A powerful case for sustainably expanding the airport, providing jobs, economic growth and direct community support to the town and region.

Growing London Luton Airport

As well as opportunity, Luton faces great socio-economic challenges – for example, 23% of Luton’s primary school children didn’t eat before school on the day they were asked. We need to change this, and to help create a town in which everyone can thrive, as we build towards the Luton 2040 vision. Growing our airport can play an important part in achieving this goal.

We have applied to expand London Luton Airport’s passenger capacity to 32 million per annum, by building a second terminal and making best use of our single runway.


Creating new jobs and investment

London Luton Airport is a major economic driver and employer in an area that has substantial pockets of deprivation and needs “levelling up”. The growth that we’re planning would create many new job opportunities.

In 2019, the airport supported a £1.1 billion contribution to GDP and sustained 16,500 jobs across the Three Counties.

If we can grow the airport to 32 million passengers per annum, this will bring to Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire:

  • A forecast extra £900m annual economic activity, or an increase of 81 per cent
  • A forecast extra 6,100 jobs, or an increase of 37 per cent

Improving connectivity

Improving air connectivity is also crucial to ensuring that the region can support and attract international businesses. Demand for air travel has recovered after the COVID pandemic and is expected to continue to increase in line with economic growth.

A unique way to control environmental impacts

If the Government approves our application for expansion, we have committed to introducing a unique and ground-breaking initiative called the Green Controlled Growth framework (GCG).

GCG is a new, environmentally-focused approach to managing growth at the airport. It introduces maximum limits for the airport’s noise, greenhouse gases1, air quality and surface access impacts. These are the areas in which, as the airport grows over time, there is most scope for impacts to increase in line with growth.

Crucially, these environmental limits are not airy aspirations, but would be governed by a new independent body with the ability to call a halt to growth if the airport does not keep to the limits. This process will be legally binding on the airport with failure to comply being a criminal offence.

GCG includes ongoing monitoring of these impacts and regular public reporting. If monitoring were to suggest at any point that the limits were in danger of being breached, then plans must set out how that breach would be avoided. Growth is slowed and ‘controlled’ as impacts get closer to the environmental limits. If monitoring suggests that there is a risk of limits being reached, or have been breached, further growth will not be allowed, and mitigation required to bring the impact back within the approved limits.

We believe GCG would be one of the most far-reaching commitments to the sustainable operation of an airport ever to be introduced in the UK.

1 Greenhouse gas emissions from the operation of the airport buildings and infrastructure, and from how people travel to and from the airport, but not from aircraft themselves. Aircraft greenhouse gas emissions are instead included in national level limits across all airports and are controlled by the Government.

Noise compensation proposals

We believe that the proposed expansion of our airport will create many positive benefits for surrounding communities – including thousands of job opportunities and better connections to friends and family abroad.

We also recognise that, even after applying best practice in design and mitigation measures, some neighbours may still be negatively affected, for example by noise impacts, or if the value of their properties is affected.

Where this happens, we are committed to making sure that residents and businesses are fairly compensated.

In many cases we are proposing to go above and beyond the legal compensation requirements and current best practice.

For full details of our compensation proposals please go to our Draft Compensation Policies, Measures and Community First proposals.

Supporting our communities

Since 1998, as a direct result of our public ownership, we have provided more than £300m to support vital local front-line services, together with an additional £180m for community investment projects which have transformed the lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable people.

We support local community organisations at a level 20 times more per passenger than any other UK airport, which means that London Luton Airport is the most socially-impactful in the UK. Expansion would mean we can make an even greater positive impact on people’s lives, increasing support for community organisations by up to an additional £13 million every year.