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Luton-10

Old 31st Aug 2021, 11:28
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Luton was consistently the worst airport in TUI customer service questionnaires and became increasingly expensive and inconvenient to operate from, whilst demand for holidays from there continued to fall. Selling holidays with easyJet doing the flying allows flexibility of more regular departures and holiday duration whilst putting the operational burden of Luton onto a different airline. The fact the HQ is in Luton isnít relevant, the two arenít linked. One might argue the base only still exists because of the maintenance facility and the ability to rotate aircraft through Luton. It also exists to provide guaranteed lift for the cruise ships, so flights to Palma, Corfu and Tenerife (winter) will almost certainly remain.

Whilst easyJet also have a large presence at MAN, LGW and BRS, the demand for holidays from these bases is far bigger and there are significant benefits to having your own airline where the demand exists. Having said that, TUI do use easyJet from these bases too, often to plug gaps in days where TUI donít operate to certain places, but also for the entire program of some destinations - generally places that are too expensive for TUI to offer a large holiday program, but require the flexibility of multiple weekly departures and different durations - Mykonos, Santorini (from next year), Malta and Madeira (from next year), for example.
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Old 31st Aug 2021, 12:33
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The decline of TUI ops at LTN has obviously been ongoing for several years. Summer 2017 was the last three aircraft operation, reducing to two in 2018. Summer 2019 saw one 757 based plus a part-time 737-8 for the peak Summer holiday period and a few "W" patterns. Prior to Covid, Summer 2020 was only going to see one 737-8 based with the excess slots already sold to Wizz. In the end no flying re-started last year (unlike virtually all other UK main bases) The current program is a very limited PMI/RHO operation on a few days a week.....

As Vokes55 mentions, the TUI customer experience at LTN went downhill rapidly several years ago when the growth at any cost mentality of LLA started to kick in. TUI holiday customers who had mostly paid a decent amount for a break, obviously didn't appreciate the poor terminal experience with extremely limited seating plus the crazy drop-off traffic queues at the time. Although, things may have improved recently, it seems the damage has been done and what the future holds is hard to judge (although Management deny plans for a full base closure) Also of major importance to TUI is the need to protect and retain existing slots at some of the major UK airports and it seems LTN does not in any way fall into this category!

Last edited by boeing_eng; 31st Aug 2021 at 12:49.
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Old 31st Aug 2021, 13:13
  #763 (permalink)  
 
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boeing_eng

Your description is absolutely correct with regards to the poor customer experience.
I live 8 miles away from Luton airport. I gladly drive to Gatwick to avoid that customer experience, every time. The whole passenger voyage through Luton is not for me.
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Old 31st Aug 2021, 13:36
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We need to remember how bad Luton was when it carried 18 million passengers in 2019. Actually we need to remember how bad Luton was when substantially fewer passengers used Luton in previous years.

SO what is LLAOL planning to do regarding the customer experience? They have put in a planning application to increase capacity to 19m while planning to carrying out no terminal improvements or expansion. I suspect they have identified areas of tiled floor where passengers are yet to sit on due to a lack of seating.
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Old 31st Aug 2021, 14:03
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Does LTN have physical space to substantially enlarge the terminal ? I thought a large number of new gates opened around 2018 with associated extra space ? Whenever I've walked around the new gate area, it often seems pretty quiet

Perhaps instead, LLAOL don't want people straying too far from the shops so they continue to spend until an aircraft is (almost) ready to board is the true cause of the overcrowding ?

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Old 31st Aug 2021, 15:22
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The plan is to ultimately increase the existing terminal capacity to either 21.5 to 22.5 million passengers by adding minuscule extensions to the front and back of the terminal.

Pier B does indeed have plenty of spare seating but the seating isn’t signposted and is located where it isn’t needed and just makes the long walk to the bulk of the gates even longer as passengers have to walk the length of the terminal to access Pier A and the main apron gates.

Last edited by LTNman; 31st Aug 2021 at 20:55.
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Old 31st Aug 2021, 15:56
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That is one of the major issues as passengers are held in the small ridiculously crowded central area (aka shopping mall) before the gates are announced fairly late on. This causes a huge number of folks to congregate in certain areas constantly gawping at the screens so that when gates are announced they can stampede in that direction!!

Although plenty of other airports such as STN also try and keep passengers in the shopping areas as long as possible, at least they have the space to do this and the experience can be tolerated....

LTN is now firmly stuck in the low cost & low quality airport category! The bulk of passengers are clearly only concerned about cost and are happy to endure what it takes for that cheapish seat!
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Old 31st Aug 2021, 17:48
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Whilst accepting that the passenger experience at LTN is sub-optimal due to the small size of the terminal, I find it astonishing that there has been any discussion about "lack of demand". LTN is quite simply the best-located airport after LHR in terms of catchment area (population within 1 and 2 hour drive times of the airport). There's no argument about this, it's an incontrovertible fact according to numerous airport studies.
To answer DJ6's question, there may be a little more space available round the current terminal, but not really enough to make a huge difference. However, re-use of the existing footprint is possible to make better use of the piers and the old terminal, but finance drives the airport to hold passengers in the main shopping area.
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Old 31st Aug 2021, 21:11
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So the airport owner LLAL spends £283m on the Dart claiming they want to remove traffic from the drop off zone and car parks while the airport operator LLAOL earns much of its income from the drop off zone at a minimum of £5 per car and vast amounts of income from its car parks. No doubt LLAOL will not be looking forward to its opening despite the cheesy smiles if the Dart is successful.

Talking of the Dart it is up and running again with test trains.
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Old 1st Sep 2021, 00:35
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LGS6753

But the majority, if not all of the people in what you define as the “catchment area” of Luton are also in the “catchment area” of one or more other airports which offer a superior passenger experience (or less bad, if you like). You only have to scroll five posts above yours to see a commonly held view.

Luton is consistently the worst performing airport in TUI customer questionnaire scores. If you’re spending thousands of pounds on a once or twice yearly family holiday, you probably don’t mind a slightly longer journey for a less stressful airport experience.
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Old 1st Sep 2021, 09:05
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Vokes -

Of course you're right, but I'm just making the point that no company should be advancing the argument of "lack of demand" at LTN.
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Old 1st Sep 2021, 09:07
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Ryanair yesterday announced a number of "new routes for winter 2021/2:
Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Grenoble, Naples, Shannon, Turin.

I'm sure some (most) of these have operated before.
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Old 1st Sep 2021, 17:07
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Some here might remember a woman being crushed by a hangar door at Signature 5 years ago. Sadly she died of her injuries.

Luton airport worker died five years after hangar door crush https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...herts-58411464

Last edited by LTNman; 1st Sep 2021 at 22:44.
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 05:00
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This doesn’t just affect LTN but seems to be endemic in LCCs across Europe, but I had a situation a few weeks ago where I was called for boarding and the aircraft genuinely per FR24 wasn’t even in the same country’s airspace, let alone land! I hoped that Covid would’ve put an end to the nonsense of waiting on stairs or queuing endlessly. The majority of RYR’s “gate closed” times are before the boarding door is even open. It’s getting on my nerves and is really off-putting for a regular traveller.
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 15:53
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I see the earthworks adjoining the back of Wigmore Park have re-started with multiple machines noted in action today. What exactly is going on here as I would have thought given the current financial situation this sort of work would not be a priority?!
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 17:11
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You would think that when LLAL has no income it would cut spending but no it just borrows more and more money from the Council who are LLAL while the Council cuts every public service possible.

The soil is meant to be from the Dart excavations, as it was one of the areas with planning permission to dump it there. After dumping the soil they are now grading it and have been for months. The photo was taken from the proposed location of Terminal 2, which is a County Wildlife Site.

The soil will eventually be used for building up the ground for aprons even if T2 is refused permission by the government. 4 stands near here to the right, 3 stands by the engine run up bay and 3 stands in the old temporary drop off area opposite the new multi-storey. The best bit is that the Council has decided that the new aprons that are due within 10 years won’t even need planning permission so will avoid scrutiny. Power corrupts?

Last edited by LTNman; 2nd Sep 2021 at 17:30.
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 19:11
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4 stands near here to the right, 3 stands by the engine run up bay and 3 stands in the old temporary drop off area opposite the new multi-storey.
Thought these had already had planning consent approved
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 20:24
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Thanks for the info LTNman...As the Dart excavations must have finished ages ago, its absolutely staggering that a big team using at least four large items of plant machinery is grading soil given the current financial situation the airport faces!
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 20:52
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pabley No they have no consent as the three aprons are deemed as permitted development. LLAOL yes LLAOL who are the operator and not the owner claim the 10 stands are part of the planning application for 18m but were never built despite no plans ever showing stands in those areas. They state that other stands that were part of the original application were never occupied by airliners using the terminal like the stands around the old flying club that ended up being used by biz jets.

So we have a situation now where LLAL are paying for soil to be graded, LLAOL claiming they are part of the original planning application, the Council saying they don't need to submit an application and LLAOL unlikely to pay for the build as they will run out of franchise to get a return. All seems a bit sleazy to me.

At the time of the application for 18m it was claimed that all building work was to be optimised to accommodate 18m passengers and no more to save money with no excess capacity that would come at a cost but could not be used due to other constants with other parts of the project. I have the book somewhere. This meant building extensions to the terminal for 18m passengers, new taxiways, new aprons and stands for 18 million passengers, new car parks and and new road layout that would accommodate 18m passengers. Now it seems they built 10 stands less than required for 18m passengers yet they carried 18m passengers in 2019. All part of the lack of accountability that the airport operates in with secret meetings, dodgy handshakes, deals done and no minutes published.
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Old 2nd Sep 2021, 21:21
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If people dig a little and look at the profiles of the airport directors listed here it is clear they have no knowledge of airports or have links to any form of aviation apart from being a passenger yet they are the directors with the Council paying for indemnity insurance policies to cover incompetence. Most only became Councillors in 2019 so they have no experience of that role either. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them doesn’t work on the fish stall at Sainsbury’s yet they are a director of the 5th largest airport in the U.K. it’s all rather a tragedy that LLAL has lost its way with poor decisions.
The Directors of LLAL are currently:
  • Councillor Javeria Hussain (Chair)
  • Councillor Amy Nicholls (Vice Chair)
  • Councillor Andrew Malcolm.
  • Councillor Waheed Akbar.
  • Councillor Khtija Malik.
  • Councillor Tahmina Saleem.
  • Councillor John Young.
  • Dr Romano Pagliari (Advisory Member)
Start here https://democracy.luton.gov.uk/cmis5...uncillors.aspx

https://m.luton.gov.uk/Page/Show/Cou...cillors_1.aspx

Last edited by LTNman; 3rd Sep 2021 at 05:10.
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