Luton Airport operators say they are delighted expansion plans to double its size have been approved by the Government this morning.

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Local Communities and Government, has decided not to call in the plans, meaning that Luton Borough Council can now grant planning permission for works, which would see 18 million passengers pass through every year.

A statement released by the operators read: "Our application to develop the airport has been subjected to intense and rigorous scrutiny over the past 12 months from neighbouring councils, independent third party specialists and by the local planning authority, who twice extended the period required to review the plans.

"Before the plans were formally submitted, proposals to improve the Airport were subject to two public consultations. 65 per cent of respondents who took part in the consultation on LLAOL’s development plans said they supported proposals to develop the Airport.

"They all stated their support for the economic benefits to Luton and the wider region, and the need to generate 5,100 new jobs, including a contribution to a reduction in youth unemployment."

Construction will take place over three phases.

Expand, modernise and remodel the terminal building to accommodate and equip:

  • Up to 20 security passenger screening lanes
  • 15 immigration passenger screening lanes
  • Up to 8 international and 1 domestic passenger reclaim belts
  • Increased retail, catering, circulation and seating areas
  • A new two-storey pier.
  • Dual the road from the Holiday Inn Roundabout to a newly configured road system in front of the Central Terminal Area
  • Build a new parallel taxiway to unlock capacity for an additional 6 million passengers a year from the existing runway
  • Build a new multi-storey car park

Glyn Jones, managing director of the airport said: "We are delighted that after a thorough process, the council can proceed to grant planning permission for London Luton. We see this as a real vote of confidence in the Airport and its future, underlining the determination of our new owners, Ardian and Aena, to develop and radically improve London Luton and deliver a better airport experience for our passengers in the years to come.

"The opportunities it brings for the local economy in terms of jobs and investment are significant, and Luton can now press ahead with making its local airport bigger and better, while remaining a good neighbour."