Some small changes at Southend Airport could make a big difference

Southend Standard column:

The summer season is upon us and I hope many readers will get a chance to get away this year. If you are, you may even be flying from Southend – one of the fastest growing airports in the country. Last year, 1.5 million people used the terminal, that’s up from 1.1 million in 2017

I have always been a proud supporter of Southend Airport and its expansion. Our town’s economy is intertwined with tourism and has been boosted ever since EasyJet began operating flights from Southend seven years ago.

Now of course, there are a range of airlines based there thanks to successive growth and investment. Operators like flybe, Ryanair and Loganair also fly from Southend to destinations across Europe.

This is brilliant news, not only for residents looking for a quick holiday getaway, but Ryanair’s operation is expected to have created 100 cabin crew and pilot jobs alone.

I believe we need to continue with this growth in order to secure the future prosperity of Southend-on-Sea. One of the ways to do that is by making it easier for passengers to reach the airport from London and further afield.

For sometime now I have been campaigning for extra Greater Anglia services between Liverpool Street and Southend Airport. I wanted to make it easier for people flying early in the morning or arriving late at night to be able to catch a train to their onward destination.

I also wanted ensure airport staff working out of office hours to be able to get to or from work easier. I lobbied the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling, Greater Anglia and Network Rail over this issue.

I am delighted to see that this has now become a reality. On June 10th, Greater Anglia started running an extra service Monday to Saturday mornings at about 04:30am. There’s also an additional late train Sunday to Friday departing 23:59pm from Southend Airport to London.

Simple improvements like this will only add to the appeal of Southend Airport – which can only be of benefit to our great town.