20 Jul London Southend Airport releases Annual Report
London Southend Airport has released its ninth annual report for the period of March 2020 to February 2021, a time which coincided with the spread of the COVID-19 virus across the UK, Europe and indeed the world.
The 2020-21 report contains details of the airport’s performance and commitments throughout the last 12 months.
• London Southend Airport has invested in new safety measures in response to the pandemic to protect employees and passengers. In addition to this, state of the art security equipment was installed in central search so that passengers may leave laptops, liquids and gels in hand baggage.
• Whilst passenger flights were placed on hold at various intervals in line with Government guidance, cargo operations continued throughout to deliver essential items as the pandemic resulted in restrictions to high street shopping. Cargo flights also supported the flow of essential medical supplies and necessary items for ‘at-risk’ residents who were quarantined at home. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the cargo operation at Southend has helped support hundreds of local jobs, in the cargo centre, within the wider Airport operation and the external supply chain.
• Employment at the airport company fell over the past year by 21%. A relatively small proportion of this was due to redundancy, to which 19 roles were lost. As we begin recovery several roles are currently under recruitment including security, air traffic control and functional management, with an additional focus on apprenticeships. 86% of staff currently employed by London Southend Airport live in a local SS postcode area.
• On 23 July 2020, London Southend Airport was awarded the Prestige award for ‘Airport of the Year – South England 2020’.
• Air quality measured around the airport perimeter continues to be well below Government targets. 21% of the airport’s electricity comes from renewable sources. In February 2021 the airport achieved Level One status in the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, a key step towards our aim of carbon neutrality.
• Targets which require over 50% of aircraft operations over Rochford and fewer than 50% of landings over Leigh continue to be met. 71% of the quota for night-time operations was used – only 39% operated over Leigh on Sea. The number of residents complaining about noise fell from 708 to 431 with 64% of all noise complaints deriving from 20 addresses.
• Opportunities were identified to support testing and in December 2020, London Southend Airport launched a Gold Standard, not-for-profit, private COVID-19 testing facility onsite in collaboration with Prenetics and Acacium Group. Within the car park the NHS were welcomed to utilise the space for COVID-19 testing from Summer 2020 – this remains in place.
• The LSA Community Team have worked hard to support a number of local good causes throughout the reporting period. In total, they raised over £14,000 for the NHS, Age Concern and other local charities, paving the way for our wider Connecting Communities Commitment.
The annual report provides an opportunity to record performance against a number of planning conditions agreed when the runway was extended. Despite the obvious challenges that have come with the pandemic, the airport has continued to work within its agreed S106 controls and utilised the time wisely to make improvements.
Although this year will be challenging, the airport’s position, serving short haul, leisure travel demand in London and the South East, places it well to return to strong growth in the medium term, as the impacts of the pandemic recede and consumer confidence in international travel returns.
Glyn Jones, CEO, London Southend Airport, “As the airport begins to recover and grow, so too does the challenge of sustainability, which has perhaps never before been so resonant.
At London Southend Airport, we have used the operational space COVID-19 has opened up to prepare our Environmental Action Plan and Connecting Community Commitment. We plan to build on the progress already made, and as has always been the case, our guiding principle is sustainable growth. Whilst growth in 2020 was rendered unachievable by COVID-19, greater levels of sustainability in our activities remained entirely possible. We continue to pursue the twin objectives of growth and management of the environmental impacts of that growth, as we move through 2021 and beyond.”