Airport reveals ambitious £150m terminal plan

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Leeds Bradford Airport today revealed its plans to build a £150m terminal as part of its ambitions to massively grow the airport and support greater prosperity for the wider region.

The new strategy is much more ambitious than the current plan to expand the existing terminal building, which was part of a £25m investment programme.

The airport’s chief executive Hywel Rees, who joined eight months ago, is spearheading the scheme. He had previously spent five years in an asset management role with the airport’s owners AMP Capital.

Rees said: “This proposed development is hugely exciting for Leeds Bradford Airport and the North and replaces our previously approved plans.

“For more than 55 years, LBA has provided an international gateway to and from Yorkshire.

“Our vision is to serve our region as a truly outstanding airport and to profoundly change the perception and reality of customer experience for passengers. To do this we need a terminal that meets the needs of the future in passenger flow and energy efficiency.

“This proposal is not about growing beyond our predicted capacity; it is about meeting the same demand in a more efficient way, with a smaller environmental footprint; it is about creating a more modern building that can achieve operational excellence to give passengers the best experience; and it is about addressing the challenges we know our passengers face far too frequently and that cannot be overcome within our current building.

“We’re confident our vision will deliver an airport building that is better placed to support our region’s economic growth and become one that Yorkshire can be proud of.”

The detailed plans for the terminal, due to be submitted in spring 2020, replace the recently consented scheme and the existing terminal building, with a more efficient and sustainable development. The plans propose the construction of a three-floor, 34,000 sq m terminal on an alternative site within the airport’s boundary.

If approved, this upgrade would create a modern airport terminal, classified as ‘excellent’ by the BREEAM sustainability standard, which is awarded only to the most environmentally efficient buildings internationally. Completion of the terminal, which is intended to open to the public in spring 2023, would also enable LBA to meet its target of net zero carbon emissions from airport operations.

The scheme would deliver significantly enhanced facilities, allowing LBA to meet its expected passenger demand, with improved level of service and efficiency. Features to enhance the passenger experience include better surface access, with the site located nearer to the proposed rail link, clean and airy interiors, improved shopping, restaurants and bars and excellent access and comfort through from arrival to boarding.

Aviation Minister, Paul Maynard, said: “Leeds Bradford Airport is the global gateway to one of the most beautiful parts of the world, so it is vital passengers get the world class service this new terminal will provide.

“The new building will be more sustainable and efficient, helping the airport meet its net zero carbon emissions target by 2023, while boosting the local economy and securing thousands of jobs.”

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “There has long been an understanding that regional airports form a vital part of providing connectivity to access global markets, attracting inward investment, and enabling a sharing of cultures.

“The plans to improve Leeds Bradford Airport are crucial and form a key part of the wider Northern Powerhouse and national aviation strategy, with environmental sustainability, including closer access to rail links, once built, critical.

“We must see investment like this to enhance our connectivity in order to drive our ambitions and rebalance the British economy, with Yorkshire as part of the wider North enabled to achieve transformational growth for the benefit of those living here and the next generation.”

Leeds Bradford Airport is only the UK’s 15th busiest by passenger numbers. Its 4m annual passengers puts it behind Liverpool, Newcastle and East Midlands. The new terminal forms a key part of the airport’s ambitions to increase passenger numbers to 7m.

Airport bosses expect the investment would make the airport more attractive to airlines and to travellers within their catchment area, who often choose to travel further to fly from Manchester, East Midlands or even London hubs.

The new terminal building would be closer to the railway station that is also being planned for the site.

The existing terminal, which was built in 1965, would be demolished once the replacement terminal is in operation.