It is still not in London, but London Southend Airport was moving closer to the big time today with the announcement easyJet will launch services from the property in 2012.
The Luton-based airline will open its newest base with three A319 aircraft and over 150 employees.
Some 800,000 passengers expected to fly through London Southend in the first year.
There will be 70 easyJet flights per week and passengers will have a choice of around ten different European destinations including Barcelona, Faro and Ibiza.
Tickets will go on sale at the end of July.
London Southend Airport, with a multi million pound brand new terminal opening in autumn 2011, will be easyJet’s eleventh UK base and is located within a minute’s walk from a new train station with links into London.
easyJet has signed a ten year partnership agreement with Stobart Group, owners of the airport.
Catherine Lynn, easyJet’s customer and revenue director, said: “We are excited to be opening London Southend as easyJet’s 20th base airport.
“The airport is in a fantastic location just outside London with a fast rail link into the city. This is a unique opportunity to offer a world class customer experience, with passengers able to get from the plane to the train in 15 minutes.
“Through offering easy and affordable travel, we expect the new routes to appeal to customers in Essex and London looking for a convenient new departure point for many top European destinations.
“We also believe that the European city links will also attract a high number of inbound business and leisure passengers to London next year.”
London Southend Airport
In January 2008 Regional Airports put the airport up for sale.
It was bought on December 2nd 2008 by the Stobart Group for £21 million.
The airport is now part of the Stobart Air division of the Stobart Group, which also operates Carlisle Airport.
Following a local council consultation, a planning application for a £300 million runway extension was submitted to Southend Borough Council October 13th 2009, who decided in favour of the application on January 20th 2010.
London Southend Airport managing director, Alastair Welch, said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with easyJet, servicing a comprehensive variety of routes into Europe and hot on the heels of other significant developments at London Southend.
“This summer we open a dedicated railway station with up to eight services an hour to Stratford - site of the 2012 games, and to London Liverpool Street, both in well under an hour.
“A new state-of-the-art control tower is now operational, work on our runway extension is underway, as is a new terminal building to be completed this autumn, and a new hotel that will open in 2012.
“All this makes London Southend an ideal gateway for both business and leisure travel across Europe, and puts us right on track for our target of serving over two million passengers annually.”