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Southampton Airport; Future Development Plans

Aug 23, 2008
In terms of airports in the south of England Southampton is by no means the largest, with giants such as Gatwick and Heathrow only a matter of hours away by car. However, despite its small size, Southampton handles many passengers and has built up an impressive amount of accompanying services such as cafes, shops, car hire desks and restaurants. These auxiliary services, as well as the airport itself supplies an important employment resource for the residents of Southampton and beyond. Passenger numbers at this airport reached the two million mark in 2005 and have continued to grow since.

Like all of the airports in the UK, as a result of a government white paper the chiefs at Southampton had to draw up a detailed growth plan that would list the proposed developments for the next thirty years. The reason the government has done this is so that they will be able to compile all of these 'Master Plans' and will then be able to gain a picture of the future of air travel within the UK. Naturally all of this development will lead to an increase in employment in local areas through expansion of accompanying services such as eateries, car hire and accommodation.

There is one thing however that Southampton airport will not want to change; that is its popularity with travellers. A recent accolade was for 'Airport of the Year', being given by the European Regions Airline Association and in addition, a survey conducted by the Telegraph reported that Southampton had been voted the most popular small airport in the UK, and the third most popular worldwide. Considering the size of the site and the services present, this is a monumental achievement.

While the airport is hoping to expand, executives are acutely aware that the most important objective is to maintain this level of service. This will mean increasing the car hire provisions, retail space and lounging areas to ensure that as more routes use the airport, the increased passengers will remain comfortable and not experience a drop in services. Increased passenger numbers was one of the major objectives put forward in the master plan, by 2030 it is hoped that on an annual basis, more than six million passengers will use Southampton airport.

While many of the airports in the UK have put forward development strategies that plan for massive expansion, Southampton airport executives have taken a different approach. The master plan makes no statements that relate to an expansion from existing boundaries. Instead the plan is to improve existing services such as car hire provisions and the terminal. Another runway is not planned either, showing that the master plan that has been produced is above all realistic with a sympathetic approach to local residents and recognition that more runways will mean increase air traffic and pollution in the vicinity.

Another marker of the sensitive approach of the planners is that despite attempting an increase in flights, no provisions will be made for night flights in the region. Additionally, by restricting the types of aircraft that will be able to land both aircraft noise and pollution will be limited, once again showing an acute awareness of environmental and residential concerns.

Amazingly the master plan put forward by the Southampton airport executives has been realistic to the size of the airport. Naturally the airport will want to increase its services such as car hire provisions, restaurants and shops as these are good money spinners and bring a large income. Whatever does happen however, the site will remain popular with many travellers.
About the Author
Air travel expert Thomas Pretty looks into how car hire Southampton airport services are integral to the development of the site.
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