View Full Version : Luton issues warning to Easyjet

7th Apr 2001, 11:40
From the electronic telegraph:-

TBI, the airport operator, yesterday warned easyJet that there were other low-cost carriers keen to operate from Luton Airport if it failed to strike a deal over landing charges.
The company, which gained control of the airport last month after buying out Barclays Bank's stake, was responding to comments from easyJet's chief executive Ray Webster that Luton was "not an attractive airport to invest in".

Keith Brooks, TBI's chief executive, said: "I'm not going to be held to ransom by one low-cost carrier because they want to negotiate through the press. If easyJet doesn't want to use Luton, there are other low-cost carriers which do."

EasyJet is furious that Luton has raised its introductory charging regime of 1 per passenger to 5.50 under a six-month interim agreement which expires in August. TBI, whose takeover of the airport was approved by the Government yesterday, is now in talks with easyJet about a long-term deal.

Yesterday, as the airline announced a 32pc rise in passengers for March to 603,812 and five new routes, it said: "Unless we can get a good deal, we won't be putting any more planes into Luton." Its new routes exclude Luton; instead there are flights from Belfast, which is also operated by TBI, to Glasgow and Edinburgh; from Glasgow to Amsterdam; from Amsterdam to Barcelona; and from Gatwick to Nice.

Mr Brooks said: "This is all the usual posturing" and added: "We're bound to get a deal on Luton. More than half their planes are there." EasyJet acknowledged that "we've got a better relationship with TBI than Barclays". In protest at the charges, founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou waged a campaign against the bank, including cutting up his Barclaycard.

EasyJet shares closed 12.5 higher at 393.5p on the traffic figures, which were in line with capacity growth, with a load factor of 82.6pc.



7th Apr 2001, 13:25
Good news all round it would seem. EZY continue to go from strength to strength and keep the city investors happy. A deal is bound to happen with TBI. EZY doesn't want to move from LTN ( it may not expand too much further )as it has built up all its infrastructure whilst TBI doesn't want to see EZY go as it would take a long time to get someone else in with the loads of EZY.
Both companies are posturing at the moment to try to see where each stand but it would be in no-ones best interest to keep any dispute going....and both sides know as much.
I think an agreement cannot be too far away.

7th Apr 2001, 14:09
Nice beaver. I can assure you that Luton airport do not give a toss about Easyjet or any other operator at the airport.
They are standing on land which is worth well over 100 million pounds, and they would have no qualms about selling tthe airport land to the highest bidder.

7th Apr 2001, 15:20
EZ may not wish to expand at LTN, but the fact is no-one can!

LTN barely copes with the load it's currently got. One look at the chaos outside airside departures when more than 2 aircraft load is proof positive and conclusive.

With all the investment of recent years I have seen squre root of no improvement in the overall operation at LTN.

Any operator wishing to expand at LTN will surely have to wait until the airport can get it's act together first!

7th Apr 2001, 15:47
Absolutely right Flaps !

How many other airports close completely due to one cm of slush !

7th Apr 2001, 20:16
Who would want to expand at Luton anyway? OK, Easyjet originally chose it because it was cheap, but now they have a bit of money behind them, if I were them I think I would leave. Look at Stansted. Having seen both airports under a considerable amount of pressure, I can safely say that Stansted coped 200 times better than Luton (eg. snow closures). Luton is ill equipped for the amount of traffic it recieves, and we have already seen that it cannot cope under even slightly bad weather. Are they really in a position to charge the amount they do for using this airport?

I think the fact is Luton will always be unpopular whilst there are better London airports the same distance away with miles better facilities. I think Stelios must be regretting his choice of Luton as a base now, one of the reasons I thought he might have invested in Go. Just out of interest, does anyone know the difference in landing fees between LUT and STN?

Edited for typos


[This message has been edited by G-BPEC (edited 07 April 2001).]

8th Apr 2001, 13:47

Its easy to look up the "rack rate" for any airport.

For the lowcost boys its the "bulk rate" for all the airport fees that counts.They are also very interested in the support the airport offers to new routes.The other very important factor if not more important factor is the cost of fuel / handling.Its the total cost that counts.

PLUS do the pax want to use the airport. Easy want to build up at LGW the total cost there has to be a lot more than either LTN or STN but, lots and lots of rich potential travellers live close to LGW.
IF they can get them to pay a bit more and they can keep the turnaround time reasonable then easy can make money at LGW.

8th Apr 2001, 17:04
Maybe if Luton started offering a service that was worth the extra costs that they are introducing there would be less arguments about it.

LTN man
8th Apr 2001, 17:31
Flybyvelcro, you haven’t a clue about what you are talking about. TBI have just taken over a thirty-year lease of the airport from Barclays. The airport and thus the land are owned by the local council who want to see it developed to its full potential. Written into the lease is a commitment to invest a minimum of 150 million into the airport in the first 10 years.

FlapsOne, another clueless wonder who doesn’t know what he is talking about. Ever wondered what sits above the check-in hall in the new terminal. I will let you into a little secret. It’s a full length airside lounge that is just sitting there waiting for the airport to grow a little larger before it is brought into service. The airport already has planning permission for this lounge to be connected to the new east apron by two piers with airbridges. The airport also has planning permission for another apron to be located just north of the new east apron which will be served by one of the piers. This will then allow aircraft to taxi in via Alpha and out via Delta.

G-BPEC. Yet another nerd lacking basic knowledge. While Luton may well be unpopular with pilots who would rather sit in a queue for half an hour waiting for their turn to take off at other London airports Luton is in fact very popular with passengers. In fact last year it overtook EDI in passenger numbers. No one is forcing passengers to use Luton as they have a choice. easyJet might moan about the place but this is from an airline that wanted to build their own terminal at Luton that in the companies own words would resemble a bus station with minimal facilities. The council said no which easyjet have never forgotten and thus started the airlines war of words. Their latest statements moan about a lack of investment in the airport but only last year they were up in arms about the oversized new terminal that was to big. From all their posturing it sounds like they want investment but other airlines should pay for it.

8th Apr 2001, 17:43
LTN man,

I take your point about Easyjet, but I still think that Stansted is a better airport than Luton, and if easy could move there, they would. I don't think for a minute that Stelios wants to be at Luton, but he has to stay there now becuase
a) he is established there, people are used to it and they know the airport

b) if he did move to Stansted he would face competition from the likes of Go and Ryanair.

I agree with the earlier postings which state that easyJet are looking to move to Gatwick. Why? becuase there is practically no low cost competition for them there, and the facilities and space available is 200 times better than at Luton.

I didn't mean to upset you, but everyone is entitled to their own point of view!!!


[This message has been edited by G-BPEC (edited 08 April 2001).]

PPRuNe Towers
8th Apr 2001, 18:17
Cool down folks.

Regards from the Towers
[email protected]

8th Apr 2001, 20:24
I agree G-BPEC, in fact I think Redhill is a better airport than LTN !

LTN man
8th Apr 2001, 22:46
Apologies all round. Luton is clearly in the second division compared to the likes of Gatwick and Stansted but Luton Council was prevented by the Conservative Government from borrowing money to fund airport expansion thus the agreement to lease the airport to Barclays. For all the criticism of Barclays by easyjet they have pumped 80 million into Luton transforming it from a small time player into the middle league in only 2 years. Luton Airport has also suffered from the fact that easyjet will not reveal their future plans for Luton so the airport authority can’t plan for future growth.

easyJet will stay at Luton despite what they say to the press. easyJet know very well that the airlines appeal to many passengers is that they are based at Luton which has excellent public transport links not only to London but down to the South Coast and up into the Midlands. Many of their business passengers would not follow them to Stansted or Gatwick as Luton is the closest and most convenient airport for their travel needs. Whether they like it or not they are stuck with each other. In fact despite their ranting the airline continues to recruit full time staff to the airport as they now do their own handling.

The council charges the Airport Authority 1.50 per passenger which was the sum that easyjet paid in fees so in reality easyJet was paying the Airport nothing. Last year easyJet moaned about the vast amounts of money being spent at the Airport as they claimed that their passengers wanted cheap fares and not flashy terminals. This year they are ranting that not enough money has been spent. They are now paying the airport 3 per passenger as the other 1.50 still goes to the council.

Transforming an airport takes time, look how much Stansted has changed over the last ten years. Luton will never become another Stansted as they don’t have the land but give them another 5 years and Luton will become an airport that is in the first division and a major London player.

8th Apr 2001, 23:58

I am not a "clueless wonder". I watch the mayhem in front of the aircraft almost every day. You cannot deny it happens.

If the planners are so wonderful, why oh why did they not extend the Delta taxiway when it was being built? The promise of something next year or the year after is no use to any airline looking to put more assets on the ground NOW!

So there's a full length airside lounge above the new terminal just waiting for the last pieces of the jig saw is there? 2 piers with air bridges will barely put a dent in the current problem. Up it to 6 and there's a future.

I could say more.......but it depresses me too much!

alpha charlie
9th Apr 2001, 01:45
I'm afraid that although the new termianl was probably needed, it should not have been at the expense of ignoring the cul de sac and the dreadful pax boarding arrangements. It a disaster out there and bordering on the dangerous at time, who'd have a service road in front of the boarding passengers route to the aircraft.

TBI may well take the attitude above, but anyone with any business sense knows you don't snub 60% of your business, EZY and TBI will come to an arrangement they need each other equally.

LTN man
9th Apr 2001, 09:54
Couldn’t agree more about the daily chaos outside the departure lounge. Taxiway Delta has been designed to link up to the main apron as the taxiway goes up hill after is passes the east apron as the main apron sits on higher ground than the new east apron. The taxiway can’t be connected to the main apron until new stands are built just north of the east apron because by connecting Delta to the main apron will result in the closure of stands 9 and 9L and due to insufficient clearance.

The piers and north apron was meant to be built as part of the original project but pressure from easyjet to cut costs meant that this work was postponed to a later date. easyJet have made it clear that they do not want any airbridges built on the main apron as they want passenger to board from the front and rear doors to speed up turnarounds So for all you easyjet pilots some of the blame can be put at the door of your management.

[This message has been edited by LTN man (edited 09 April 2001).]

com sport
9th Apr 2001, 11:39
Barclay's, 80 million and two years? Think it took a bit longer than that mate, and when you see how many of your colleagues have taken and are taking rvoluntary redundancy offered, Barclays and TBI have obviously made a big impression on their staff!. Yes you're right upstairs is empty(why?), just like there's no glass in the terminal (why?), and no airbridges!. You say easyjet are partly to blame for the lack of airbridges, well who's project managing? easy or TBI/Barclays?. How come easy can make short turnrounds at other destinations using pier's and bridges?, lack of research by LTN Men I think!. 9 and 9L do not have to go, you could pull down the old control tower and BAL ops, problem solved!(sorry silly me, means dealing with a customer). Not so easy to sort out the runway length though with a valley to fill at each end!. When STN gets a 2nd runway which is highly likely, then LTN will need easy more than it does now. If there's so many new lo-cost operators where are they?, why haven't they started?. Perhaps they're still stuck in the car park taking 45 minutes to get from the executive car park to the Ibis rounabout, just so long as they don't want to fly on a Thursday afternoon it'll be ok!

Spoiler Mixer
9th Apr 2001, 15:28
Here we go again....its time to knock good old LTN!

Ltn Man is correct when he states that LTN is popular with passengers and justifiable so! It seems to me a few egos can't cope with having to operate from a "2nd class" airport! There was life before EZY and I'm sure there could be life after it!!
Lets face facts, LTN has been good for EZY just as much as EZY has been good for LTN!

When some of you accept that LTN is NOT and has never pretended to be in the same class as STN, LGW etc, things might become a little easier. Sure, LTN has a long way to go, but interference and bullying tactics through the media can hardly be classed as professional.

Yes, Barclays may have bungled in several areas but hopefully TGI who have a much better track record will employ their expertise to good effect at LTN.

PS: A second runway at STN.....I don't think so! Extending rwy 26 at LTN using stanchions etc is quite achievable however.

9th Apr 2001, 15:56
After a 249 bill for 2 vists in a Seneca and a total stay of about 1 hour - maybe it is just vengeful thinking for me to imagine them having to beg for GA aircraft to visit them (after the airlines desert the field for a better deal elsewhere)!

Would love to have been charged just 5.50 per pax!

9th Apr 2001, 15:59
My first posting after looking at this site for over two years.

I don't work at Luton, but have very many friends who do - either with the airlines, with the airport or NATS.

I can understand the frustration of those crews who use Luton - facilities are far from ideal, but much of what LTN MAN says is true.

What hasn't been said is that as one of the junior shareholders, TBI were frequently out voted at Board meetings by Barclays and thus a lot of what could have happened, didn't.

If you read some of TBI's recent press releases, and in particular their official declaration to The Stock Exchange when they bought most of Barclay's shares, they have made it quite clear that many of their views were previously not accepted and that they now intend to put their professional stamp on Luton.

Since TBI "took over" they have been conducting an extensive audit (for want of a better expression)from which I believe a sensible plan will flow. Given that TBI are experienced in the running of airports, which Barclays were not, it is to be hoped that some good will come of it.

I understand that the one of the first changes to be made will be the moving of the airside road to the front of the stands - something the staff had suggested to management even before Barclays got involved. Sadly this shows the lack of management experience which in still there, particularly in the operational areas.

Re the Old Control Tower, I understand it is a Grade 2 Listed Building so demolition isn't that easy.

There are some good people at Luton and with TBI now firmly in control I hope that they now channel their expertise and investment into the right areas whilst getting rid of the "dead wood" in management.

The airport and easyJet need each other - let's hope it stays that way!

Raw Data
9th Apr 2001, 16:36
I was based at LTN for a year, and actually found it pretty user-friendly compared to other large airports. Yes, the cul de sac is a hassle, but it will eventually go.

I don't think it is possible to extend the runway... the western end slopes very steeply, and the other end has no available land (I think the Hertfordshire border runs very close to the threshold, and the county would want lots of money).

The major problem, to my mind, is the lack of a direct link to London. There was once talk of bringing a rail link all the way to the terminal, but apparently this was too hard/too expensive, so now pax must catch a bus to the railway station. Not ideal if you have heavy bags!

9th Apr 2001, 19:07
Raw Data mentions the rail link.

I don't think that there has been the intention for many, many years to have a railway station actually on the airport. There was however a proposal to have some sort of people mover between the site of the new Luton Parkway station and the terminal.

The reason for not having a dedicated station was quite simple (although possibly wrong!). Luton looked at the experience of Stansted shortly after the station was opened there. It was seen that whilst the shuttle train from central London was used heavily, all the services from other parts of the country had been suspended through lack of passengers. As Luton was looking to passengers from the south and east Midlands as well as the London area, they reasoned that as those trains already travelled along the Midland mainline, they wouldn't go up a "branch line" to the airport but would stop at a new station closer to the airport.

History lesson over!

682ft AMSL
10th Apr 2001, 00:16
Interested in talk of the RWY profile at LTN and the constraints for expansion given the sloping land. Sounds very much like good old LBA. Does LTN suffer (as LBA does) with huge displaced thresholds as a result?


Raw Data
10th Apr 2001, 01:31

Not quite. When my company opened a base there a few years ago, a specific promise was made that a (light) rail link would be taken all the way to the terminal, in fact a LLA person even showed me (I was Base Captain) the land set aside for the track. One change of management later, that plan was shelved as being too difficult or expensive, can't remember which. Not long after that, we closed our base there- for a variety of reasons, but one was the lack of promised infrastructure. We now have a base at LCY which serves us a lot better than LLA ever could.

Could be wrong, but only if a few LLA folk were telling very big porkies!

10th Apr 2001, 11:45
Raw, yup it was too difficult and too expensive, and a lack of investment as well, might still be on the back burner, dedicated coach/bus road might also be the way forward though.

A runway on stilts in Hertfordshire? whatever next? simply won't do old chap!. Proposals were to infill at 26 threshold end, but where do you get that qauntity of mud?. Not to mention two new rivers just started running again after 50 years north and south of the 26 threshold, and on clay too, which is nice!.
Just a quick hint, look at the environment (in total) around LTN,LHR,LCY and LGW, and compare and contrast with STN. Ask why BAA want to expand so much at STN, and not LGW, i.e. new terminal, look at land management, airspace management, and STN new runway? I think so!

10th Apr 2001, 12:24
Thought i should put my oars in on this thread :)

682ft AMSL, nope no displaced thresholds at LTN, no steep terrain problem, just that you launch of an aircraft carrier style runway :)
I always find it amusing that some people slag LTN off,sure it ain't perfection, and lack of credible management in the past has been an achilles heel.
At my company our scheduled loads are always near full(not sleazy), and the pax in general like LTN. Why its simple,a short walk to any gate,reclaim bags in 10 minutes or less, railway staion no further than at any other London Aiport, and good road links...
The really best thing about the airport though, is that the runway, or road to the M1 lead you away from LTN town, which really is a dump http://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/smilie/biggrin3.gif

Spoiler Mixer
10th Apr 2001, 12:31
Jumpseater........Regarding the extension of Rwy 26 all of 2000ft or so into Herts, from what I understand discussions have already be held with the appropriate authorities. Technically the project is quite possible without infilling to any great degree.

As for STN, I think we're forgetting the embattled local residents here (remember all the protests about London's Third Airport in the 1960's & 70's?)In addition, there have been several Government white papers in the past stating that the environmental problems there are in many ways, similar to those at

10th Apr 2001, 16:41
If memory serves me, 2,000ft on LTN's runway still leaves it inside the airport and Bedfordshires boundary, if only by a few inches! possibly some cute planning there!. It will need a very large amount of infill to provide an appropriate cleared and graded area, and still where does it come from and how do you get it there?. If you bulldozed the town that might provide the hardcore base and help EGGW out as well :)

I remember the Cublington/Wing Thurleigh and Luton options for the 3rd London airport though not in any great detail. Most of the problems came from lack of infrastructure I recall as there were no easily upgradable road or rail links at the time. With respect the last thing I'd forgoten is the local's, look again at Gatwick, the least damaging environmental option means destroying Charlwood, at Stansted its largely open fields in the Uttlesford area, and as opposed to Luton it's flat and has relatively cheap land for the South East. Second runway at Gatwick gives entertaining ATC issues at the very least, much less so near Stansted with it's less congested airspace.
So back to sunny Luton, Stansteds potential really is far greater and easier to achieve than that of Luton, and after T5 at Heathrow is approved, where else would you develop?

[This message has been edited by jumpseater (edited 10 April 2001).]

David H
10th Apr 2001, 17:03
In respone to Jumpseater, I'm pretty sure that Luton was never an option for the third London airport in "those days". The options were, as you say, Cublington/Wing (remember "No wings at Wing"), Thurleigh, plus Foulness Island in Essex. The first two were thrown out, mainly on environmental grounds, leaving Foulness, which was renamed the more appealing Maplin.

Maplin was eventually also thrown out in the multiple mid-1970s economic crises (I think by the Wilson Government in 1974), throwing us all back to Square One. The slack was taken up to some degree by T4 at LHR and more so by the eventual expansion at STN in the 1980s.

Now we're back to Square One yet again. As for LGW I'm pretty sure the local authority has said no new runway there until at least 2020 or maybe 2040. STN is the only place in the southeast for really significant runway expansion. It could be more or less built within existing airfield grounds, eg. a new 05/23 to the northwest of the existing one, which would use the old terminal area, wouldn't conflict with the existing rail tunnel, and would require only modest land acquisition in the northeast corner. It may, on thinking about it, conflict with the Hilton Hotel, car park and road network, but I am sure that can all be dealt with.

I am not a structural engineer, but I think major expansion of the runway at LTN is not possible. Just drive around the perimeter roads. The comparison with an aircraft carrier is very apt. It's not the point anyway - what LTN needs is a full parallel taxiway and improved traffic patterns around the terminals instead of the cul de sac (maybe that is in process of change, as others have said above...)

10th Apr 2001, 17:32
DH you're right re Luton and 3rd airport options, they did have about the same time though plans for a 3km or thereabouts north/south runway, solved the hill problem but put Herts(Harpenden), in the firing line and also Bovingdon, which was still open as an airfield at that time. Idea scrapped due lack of cash and environment/operations problems I think.
PS new runway at STN would be south east of the field I believe, puting current terminal in the centre of a staggered H, laid on its side, if that makes sense.

Spoiler Mixer
10th Apr 2001, 22:31
David H......You are correct in that the construction of a second runway at LGW before 2019 is technically prevented by a legal agreement between the BAA and the County Council.

I accept that STN is the most likely location for a second runway in the SE. However,the BAA have already submitted draft proposals to increase the max throughput of STN from 15 million passengers per year (expected to be reached in 2004) to 25 million per year. The BAA proposes to accommodate this growth within the existing airport boundary, without the need for a second runway and with further development of the existing terminal rather than a new terminal building.

As for extending the runway at LTN, just look whats been done at Funchal (similar work is planned at SFO and elsewhere)

LTN man
10th Apr 2001, 23:58
Phase 2 development plans at Luton includes either extending the new terminal southwards or Building terminal 2. Putting in a full length parallel taxiway that will join the runway at the ends thus giving a longer TORA though there are no plans to extend runway 26/08 due to the drop beyond the runway.

Phase 3 development includes the possibility of building a new terminal by the new railway station and converting the existing new terminal to pure airside. The two buildings would be linked by a people mover. One half of the road tunnel under Alpha7 has been reserved for this use.