London Luton seeks to boost annual capacity to 18m

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London Luton Airport is aiming to boost its capacity to 18 million passengers a year from the existing maximum throughput of 11.5 million, in order to meet increasing demand for air travel in the southeast UK.

The airport plans to achieve this by using its existing runway and making modifications to aircraft taxiways, aprons, piers and parking stands.

Changes will also likely be made to the passenger terminal, surrounding road network and airport car parks.

A public consultation on the proposed project will run from 6 February until 5 March, during which time feedback and suggestions from local businesses and residents will be sought.

"We will consult actively and listen carefully ahead of submitting a planning application to enhance this important people's asset, but we must be ready to embrace market demand in the future," said Robin Harris, chairman of London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL), which owns the airport on behalf of Luton Borough Council.

"The need for additional airport capacity in the south east of England and the enormous growth that low-cost carriers have demonstrated in recent years gives us every confidence that London Luton Airport will continue to become ever-more attractive to both existing and new airlines."

LLAL expects the project to create up to 6,000 new jobs.

London Luton forecasts that it will handle 10.2 million passengers in 2012.