The CBI, easyJet and the FSB have backed London Luton Airport’s call on government to improve rail access to Luton Airport Parkway station.
They support the requirement to introduce four fast trains per hour from central London to Luton Airport Parkway (LAP) as part of the upcoming East Midlands rail refranchising process.
According to the airport, the Express style services will transform access from the north and south.
Alongside Luton Borough Council’s planned £200million light rail link between Luton Airport Parkway station and the terminal; the additional fast train services will make LLA one of the best-connected London airports with journey times less than 30 minutes from central London, the airport claims.
According to an independent economic analysis, increasing the number of hourly fast trains to LAP from one to four through timetable change could significantly increase rail revenue up to £110 million at no cost to the rail operator or DfT, and could almost double the number of passengers travelling by train to the airport; reducing traffic congestion by 70,000 journeys and saving 500 tonnes of CO2.
Currently 80 East Midlands trains pass through LAP in each direction, with 18 stopping there. Increasing to 72 stopping trains will provide an Express type service with minimal knock on effects on the timetable. As well as increasing modal share for rail to 21.6%, up from 14% currently, four fast trains an hour will double the services to Nottingham and Leicester and provide more services along the line for Corby and Kettering.
DfT’s own projections show demand for air travel will more than double by 2050, while the Airport Commission has said it is “imperative” that all airports fulfil their potential to grow connectivity in the near-term. The Transport Select Committee has identified rail links as a major limiting factor to achieving that.