Car Parks Glasgow Airport

History of Luton Airport

Luton airport is one of the country’s fastest growing airports in the country under-pinned by the equally rapid growth of easyjet. Passengers in the year 2001 had risen to 6.5 million and along with Heathrow airport, Stansted airport and Gatwick airport form the hub of airports serving London and the south of the country.

Luton Airport started operations in 1938 and was originally owned by the Borough Luton airport. During the war years the airport was home to 264 Fighter Squadron and became an important site for the manufacture of both civilian and military aircraft by the Percival Aircraft Company.

After the war the airport was developed for civilian transport with the 60’s being the start of affordable holidays. Britannia Airways was formed in 1962 and is now one of the largest charter airlines in the world and is still based in Luton. Another well known charter airline Monarch also decided to base itself at Luton and by 1972 20% of all holiday flights were coming out of Luton airport making it the most profitable airport in the country. Unfortunately, the airport suffered a major set back when the tour operator Clarksons went into liquidation along with its airline Court Line.

In 1978 the Government recognized that Luton airport had a part to play in meeting the ever increasing demands placed on Heathrow airport, Gatwick airport and Stansted airport and in 1985 a new international terminal was completed. Rynair joined monarch in 1986 in developing more schedule flights to Spain and Ireland.

In 1987 London Luton Airport Ltd was born with the local borough the sole shareholder. A further set back arose in 1991 when Ryanair, which was fast growing, moved the hub of its operations to Stansted airport turning a profit into a loss. To reverse this decline in numbers a commercial management team was put in place with the local borough taking a back seat.

No less than 30 million was invested in the infrastructure upgrading facilities for operators and the general public. This led to Airtours using the airport with a further boost in 1997/1998 by the establishment of the low cost flyer easyjet. The airport enjoyed rapid growth during this period in traffic numbers rising to 4.4m by 1998.

However, in 1998 to expand further stronger long -term finances were required and the council agreed a 30-year partnership with a private consortium to manage the business.

This was superceded in March 2001 when TBI plc became the major shareholder 71.4% with Betchel Enterprises Luton UK Ltd the remainder.


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