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Luton-10

Old 16th Nov 2022, 18:23
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Originally Posted by LTNman
I for one will keep on promoting the core Luton Airport
Please let me know where and when - I look forward to seeing it.
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Old 16th Nov 2022, 21:07
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Grrr

Originally Posted by LTNman
I would like to think I can recognise the bigger picture rather than being a denier. We should all be trying to reduce flying even though this is painful for many people here. Luton is a very successful airport and has created many direct and indirect jobs. It will carry on being successful without the need to satisfy the Pruners here who like to tick off destinations as through they are collecting football stickers. It must be a man and boy thing.

If your desire is to reduce travel to other local airports then promote the smaller airports so they can take passengers away from Luton so reducing demand. Maybe a new airline is required perhaps called Lemming Airways.

I for one will keep on promoting the core Luton Airport and not the wishy washy shower that is running the show today. They have saddled the town with debts and are being given the run around by an airport operator that is looking after its shareholders while the town is losing its services. There will be around 15m passengers this year using Luton yet not a penny will be paid as a dividend to the Council by LRT as they continue to tap into Council bailout money.

If Luton reaches 18m passengers next year, which it won't, the Council still won't get a penny in dividends, as LRT is viewed by those in the know, as being terminally ill.
The outrageous part of all of this, is that some are making a profit from the council tax payers expense. The airport was a massive asset to the town and local community once. Now sadly LBC, like Slough and Thurrock, have created millstones via questionable investments. What time is the first DART?
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Old 16th Nov 2022, 21:15
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This is the classic case of why airports should be in the private sector, and not publicly-owned.
Luton Council is riddled with conflicts of interest. (Council v Party v Electors v Creditors v Airport v Concessionaires, etc).
Labour (and some Tory) Councillors have little commercial knowledge. Town Hall bureaucrats probably even less.

It's a recipe for the kind of disaster that LTNman has been explaining over recent years.
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Old 16th Nov 2022, 22:58
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The lines are now totally blurred. The concession was meant to last until 2028. It was extended until 2031 on the understanding that the private airport operator LLAOL expanded the capacity of the airport to 18million. This work has never been completed, as there is still a missing section of Taxiway Alpha that was meant to reach almost to the end of the runway. The terminal never had its promised ceiling put in on the new build leaving every pipe, conduit, heating duct and cable on show leaving much of the terminal looking half finished.

The whole idea of the concession from day one was that the airport operator took the financial risks and not the Council. This was how the terminal, that was built in I think 1999, was financed via the then franchisee who eventually sold the concession on.

London Luton Airport Ltd, now renamed Luton Rising (Temperature), was a zero risk company with no staff. It just collected rents and concession fees for distribution to charities and to pay a large dividend to the Council.

Now it pays nothing and is allowing concession fees totalling £45m over 3 years to be kept by the airport operator. This is claimed to be Covid payments despite the airport operator already paying nothing to the Council during 2020 and 2021. So what is this money going towards? How about a nice new apron for starters? How about paying for the airport operators planning application for 19million passengers and the KC representing the airport operator at the public inquiry? All speculation but LRT operates in secret and deals between the two are viewed as confidential.

Then there is the Dart. Why has LRT built it at their risk and not the airport operator who are being paid £6m to staff it on behalf of LRT? That should have been worth a few more years on the concession, which, by the way has been extended to 2032. We can speculate that was the intention but maybe the bean counters at LLAOL could not make the sums add up. This is not surprising seeing the Dart has a book value of only £77m when it cost £281.

So from a zero risk company LRT now have debts of £580m with loans from the Council secured on the airport that the Council already owns.

Last edited by LTNman; 16th Nov 2022 at 23:25.
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Old 17th Nov 2022, 00:16
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We can only hope that the current inquiry will finally expose some of the shenanigans that LTNman has taken the time to highlight. As a local resident and airport worker for 36 years its absolutely tragic to see just how an important local asset has been mismanaged (and the totally devious methods employed to hide these actions)

The expand at any cost brigade need to get a reality check.......With these clowns in charge there is no hope for anything except for an even bigger mess!!
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Old 17th Nov 2022, 05:58
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The planning inquiry is a bit of an eye opener. To encourage growth the Town Hall offered incentive schemes plus “super incentive schemes” to raise passenger figures fast, which is what happened, meaning the airport operator and the airlines were being paid by the Council to raise passenger numbers.

The problem was that the growth was happening faster than quieter aircraft were being introduced. This had been carefully worked out meaning 18m was not meant to happen until 2028 when more quieter aircraft were meant to be introduced by. This was being highlighted to the Council as early as 2016 who decided to allow the breach in planning permission to occur, as they were making money out of it. This happened for 3 consecutive years until 2019 when nighttime restrictions were introduced due to pressure from outside the Council to comply with the planning permission it had granted.

Not happy with this the airport operator in consultation with LRT and the Council put in a planning application to the same Council to allow more aircraft noise while at the same time increasing capacity to 19m. This went before the planning committee who approved the application thus ignoring 500 objections, as they always approve any application coming from LRT or LLAOL.

At the planning inquiry a member of the public asked whether the 19m could have been approved but the extra noise rejected, as this was allowing the noise contours to be extended. The Council’s chief planning officer, after a long pause and who was by now getting flustered gave a misleading answer by implying no when the answer was yes. The correct answer was only extracted by the public inquiry chairman after further probing after the member of the public had left.

The public inquiry continues.

So what will the final outcome be? I suspect the planning permission decision will be upheld but the Council will be shown to be biased and acting in its own interests and not taking a balanced view with the interests of the public being taking into account.

Last edited by LTNman; 17th Nov 2022 at 08:04.
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Old 17th Nov 2022, 06:14
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LTNman - we read a lot about how LTN is being poorly managed. What do you think should be done, given the current situation ? Imagine you have dictator-like powers to enforce changes... !
In giving your opinion, please declare any conflict of interest you might have or your current and recent involvement with the airport
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Old 17th Nov 2022, 10:10
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My conflicts of interest are limited to where I live and how expansion will affect me and my local community. Remember I don’t live next to an airport but an airport now wants to live closer to me.

I can’t go into my present involvement with the airport, as even I am gagged so I can’t always mention what I know until it appears somewhere else first. In a former life I had a free run of the place both landside and airside so I had more idea of what was happening day-to-day than the people running the place.

So what would I do?

That LRT should truly be accountable but independent with its own board of directors and not councillor directors who work part time in Asda or work as a clerk at a travel agency. They have no recognised skill or ability and do what they are told by Council officials who run the show.

As part of the government requirement for its bailout money to the Council, the Council has to separate more of the airport from the Council with the Council being forced to take on directors who hopefully know what they are doing. I can’t remember if this is to replace the Council directors or supplement them.

I would remove the links between LRT and the Council but leaving the Council as the sole shareholder. Despite the claim that LRT has no staff they do, as the wage bill and email addresses comes from the Town Hall. They are absolutely tied at the hip. Looking at the LRT Facebook page LBC and LRT are one of the same.

I would remove secrecy. The number one priority of LRT is to operate in secret often against the public interest. They publish no minutes and the public are not allowed to attend meetings despite it being part of the Council. They are only accountable to the Council and not the people. When the Council discuses LRT they often shut down the cameras and go into private session, as the public who voted them in must not be allowed to know the truth.

There should be no confidentially agreements between the airport operator and the airport owner (LRT). What do they have to hide if it is all above board?

I would bring back truth and integrity and remove the lies and deception. I great example is the now estimated £150m dual carriageway to Terminal Two. This will be funded by the taxpayer and will be gifted to the new concession holder if the terminal gets planning permission.

So how is this possible? Simple, the Council put in a planning application for a business park that actually sits on the same land required for most of the airport’s expansion plans. The application and approval removes the road from the DCO process so no independent scrutiny there. They have come unstuck, as the Council can’t get grants to help pay for the road, as it is classed as unviable. They dare not mention the true reason for the road, which also just happens to breach the local plan with a link road that is not allowed.

The planning committee are not independent even though they claim to be. They are meant to hear evidence and then make a decision. In reality they have already made their minds up before entering the room, as they all follow party lines with the Labour members and one Conservative member always voting in favour while the Lib Dems normally oppose. It would be hard for Labour members not to vote in favour of airport applications when it is party policy to expand the airport. With that is mind they have their own clear conflict of interest but they don’t declare them.

So what would I do? Airport planning applications should be decided outside the influence of the Council by independent members who are not in any way linked to the Council or its policies. They already have independent members but they don’t get involved in planning. As the Council has lost all credibility and is seen as dodgy this needs to happen.

What is happening now is that a public inquiry is taking place, as the Council has been finally recognised as being incapable of making a fair decision. This was not meant to happen, as the applicant, with advise from the Council, put in an application for just a million extra passengers. The intention, I speculate, was to slip this in under the radar of the government rather than putting in an application to maximise the existing terminal at around 22m passengers. If approved and the DCO was turned down then other one million planning applications would have followed and as night follows day, the planning committee would have approved them all.

Last edited by LTNman; 17th Nov 2022 at 18:43.
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Old 17th Nov 2022, 14:38
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Forgot to mention these.

LRT should not be allowed to borrow money from the Council. One of the reasons the Council finances are in a state is that LRT could not pay the interest payments on its Council loans after the Council in turn borrowed the money themselves. This resulted in the Council lending LRT more money to cover the interest payments.

LRT should also not be an airport developer but remain just the collector of rents and concession fess so remaining zero risk. That was the role of the airport operator and would have insulated LRT from risk.

Too late now but LRT should not be a rail operator. The fact that LLAOL would not put any money into the project should have acted as a warning.

Last edited by LTNman; 17th Nov 2022 at 18:46.
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 12:26
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Emerald and Eastern turned down for slots next summer
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 12:42
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They probably wouldn’t have used them anyway and if they did who would have the money to travel? Contractions and consolidation for next year I am sure so those slots will remain unused.
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 13:47
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Originally Posted by cavokblues
Emerald and Eastern turned down for slots next summer
What about SkyExpress, thought they were all on waiting list? Blue Air slots still need to be resolved.
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 14:02
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Yes, Sky Express also on the waiting list.

Issue isn't lack of slots but the seat allocation is above the declared limit due to Wizz and EasyJet putting larger aircraft on routes.

I can't fathom what interest Eastern would really have with Luton and the 14 slots they requested?
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 14:32
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Originally Posted by Spanish eyes
A bit of a contrast from the Which readers awards but then how many people actually voted in the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards, a publication I have never heard of.

Luton got itself out of bottom position in the Which awards not by effort but by the fact that far less people are using Luton. The more passengers that use Luton the worse it gets. 18 million is bad enough but the plan is to add another million with no new physical infrastructure.
Only the largest global and lifestyle magazine on the planet.
Perhaps the Luton readership and voters were those using rather more independent travel vehicles than the masses flying pink orange and harp !
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 19:25
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Originally Posted by cavokblues
Yes, Sky Express also on the waiting list.

Issue isn't lack of slots but the seat allocation is above the declared limit due to Wizz and EasyJet putting larger aircraft on routes.

I can't fathom what interest Eastern would really have with Luton and the 14 slots they requested?
The Londonderry to London PSO is out for tender so they maybe wanted the slots for that.
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 22:44
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Originally Posted by LTNman
With no luggage space and the inability to walk from one end of the train to the other looking for empty seats does nothing to enhance the service particularly when the new 12 carriage walkthrough Thameslink trains are far superior.

The EMR electric trains are meant to have been refurbished by now from 2+3 seating to 2+2 seating but I have yet to encounter one.
EMR (360s) none reseated yet and, to my knowledge, not even any contract to do this has been let [well none announced anyway].

As here be not a trains forum I won't elaborate, especially as this is rumour, but there is a rumoured possibility of an alternative but similar unit type being cascaded over that does have gangways throughout (350/2s). Although these too are currently 2+3 seating not 2+2. It would be 1-2 years I'd estimate before this could happen even if it is true.

It is suggested elsewhere that as from 12/2022 timetable change the current EMR service will - at last - be 12car - in theory. At least a 12car will give customers with baggage overall more space to find a seat IF they have the time and nouce to do that and prepared to walk a bit at both StPancras and Luton Parkway - an issue being that both stations layout w.r.t. steps and access tends to place them towards the London end of any train.

None of it is very good for an "airport express" service which it is by nature if not by name.
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 00:16
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The problem with the EMR service is that a 12 carriage train is actually 3 trains joined together. With no walk through available between each third, one end could be overcrowded while the other end is half empty with no way to get to the empty seating.

I had high hopes for this franchise. The airport, council and business groups including Easyjet were pushing hard for 4 non stop trains an hour with Luton Express branding once talked about. It never occurred to me that Luton would end up with 2 trains an hour using Southend Airport’s 20 year old cast off’s that would end up not being refurnished as promised.

The airport boasts a headline 22 minute service from London but in reality not that many people use it compared to Thameslink, which stops at many stations.

Last edited by LTNman; 19th Nov 2022 at 05:35.
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 00:32
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Yes, they are 3 units (360/1s) coupled without gangway connection.

I think you are not the only one who once had high hopes for the current EM operator only to find the shoddy state things are in now. A little of it is possible to blame on covid but most of it is not.

The point in the rumour I posted for is that this involves different units (350/2s; same generic Desiro type) that have through gangways; they are still 4car but can walk through the whole train, 8car or 12car.

The rumour suggests that a /possible/ reason for EMR / DfT / whoever holding back on 2+2 reseating of the current EMR 360/1s is IF they are getting those 350/2s then they'd only have to repeat the reseating exercise as these are 2+3 too.

(On a railway crank point, the EMR 360/1s are not ex Southend airport; they never ever routinely worked the Southend line; they were primarily Clacton and Walton, with some Ipswich and Harwich workings; excuse the rail gen on this forum but it needed clarfication re SEN airport).

Re. more travellers using Thameslink than EMR - the discounted London direction rail tickets sold through EasyJet are not accepted by EMR, only valid on Thameslink. So with EasyJet being a significant factor Luton, it is not surprising Thameslink carries proportionately more than EMR do.

Have not the faintest idea how such a barmpot ticket arrangement came about but thats the modern railway for you.

None of this is helping Luton airport pax at all. Poor show all round.

Last edited by D7666; 19th Nov 2022 at 01:01.
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 05:56
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Group save tickets are also not valid on EMR to St Pancras but are on Thameslink yet EMR offer the cheapest way to get to London if passengers book in advance on selected trains only with advanced single fares. I found tickets on sale at only £2.60 each way. The problem being that passengers from Luton would have no idea about how long it would take to pass through the airport and the fact that the aircraft might arrive late on stand.

As a side note the dearest single fare listed from Luton Airport Parkway to St Pancras I found costs £304 and is called an off-peak carnet ticket. £4.90 can be added to that to get from the terminal once the Dart opens.

Last edited by LTNman; 20th Nov 2022 at 06:59.
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 07:32
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Originally Posted by LTNman
Group save tickets are also not valid on EMR to St Pancras but are on Thameslink yet EMR offer the cheapest way to get to London if passengers book in advance on selected trains only with advanced single fares. I found tickets on sale at only £2.60 each way. The problem being that passengers from Luton would have no idea about how long it would take to pass though the airport and the fact that the aircraft might arrive late on stand.

As a side note the dearest single fare listed from Luton Airport Parkway to St Pancras I found costs £304 and is called a off-peak carnet ticket. £4.90 can be added to that to get from the terminal once the Dart opens.
A carnet ticket is a book of tickets so that £304 needs to be divided by however many are in the book to find the cost per ticket. Usually it’s like 10 tickets and should be a discounted rate for buying more and they have a bit of flexibility.
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