countvis From UK - England, joined Feb 2012, 132 posts, RR: 0 Posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 7321 times:
A very important step was made this evening as EI-CBK operating the Aer Arann flight from Waterford became the first commercial traffic to land on the newly extended runway at London Southend Airport.
The airport has been closed for much of this week as the configuration of the landing aids and the repainting of the runway markings was completed. The extension is 300m in length plus an additional 70/45m turning circle at the end. The total length of the runway is now 1905m with TODA on both Runway 06 and 24 now 1799m.
The lack of investment in the runway at the airport is probably the greatest reason for its demise in the 1970s. In 1969, the airport was the 3rd busiest in the UK, with 700,000 passengers using the airport. However as the days of the Carvair came to an end and passenger jet aircraft were widely introduced, the runway became a sticking point, and the airport went into decline.
A runway extension was considered and objected in the 70s for the first time. Ambitions to expand the airport remained throughout the latter part of the 20th century. However the proximity of a church at the 06 end of the runway made things difficult. The airport even proposed demolishing, and later picking up and rolling the 11th century church away from the runway end.
It was believed for many years that the runway could not be extended with the church, just metres from the runway edge in place. However after being purchased by the Stobart Group in 2008, plans were drawn up with the CAA, and it was determined that the runway could be extended as it would allow the installation of an ILS on the 06 end of the runway, and that the church would be located abeam the touchdown point of the extended runway, rather than when aircraft were crossing the threshold.
Planning permission was granted, however the runway extension became a matter of local controversy, with a small yet very active group of NUMBYs attempted to block scheme through scaremongering and manipulating the judicial system. After the plans being called in by a government minister, and a public inquiry over the diversion of the road which was located directly before the 06 extension, the green light was given and the runway extension was constructed in Winter 2011/12.
The runway is still relatively short, however just long enough for easyJet to be opening a base at the airport, vastly increasing the prospects of my local airport.
I hope this post has been of interest to some, since the opening of the runway extension has been a pivotal moment for London Southend Airport, which will enable it to be reborn as a thriving regional airport.
raffik From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1741 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 6911 times:
It is wonderful news. I remember the airport very well.. even though I was born in '82 and the airport was mainly lying dormant since then apart from the odd arrivals of ageing 707s, Viscounts and Cessnas etc.
My mother worked for British Air Ferries as a flight attendant through the '80s when BAF had a reasonably comprehensive network from there- Paris, Bruge, Jersey, Guernsey, Reims and then when the airline chartered its flights to Air Algerie.
My father serviced the airport lounge's refrigeration equipment throughout the years also and used to take me with him.
Quite regularly we would go to the airport on a sunday for a drink and sandwich and to watch the little planes arriving and going.
Throughout the 90s and early 2000s the airport remained very quiet, apart from aircraft coming in for repainting and minor servicing. I remember several BA 757s arriving when they left the BA fleet - I believe some of them were converted to cargo.
I was worried when the airport sold a chunk of its land to create what is now the retail park where Pets at Home etc is.
I thought that the airport could need this land for any type of expansion in the future.
The McDonalds though was good for getting a milkshake and driving to where the flight school is and waiting for an aircraft to land (some times nothing ever came!)
I miss the Heavylift aircraft that used to visit but I am really happy that my once local airport has gone from being unused and empty to a gateway to the continent and the world (Aer Lingus).
When I was at college studying Travel and Tourism, I submitted a project for passenger charters from Southend and everybody thought I was crazy. They said that the airport's catchment area was the Estuary! Hey ho, I got the last laugh!
It has been absolutely wonderful to see the rejuvenation of Southend come to fruition. After so many years of neglegt and doubt, it's amaxzing it has all happened so quickly.
707s were quite regular visitors for maintenance, and whilst empty, the runway at Southend wasn't too limiting.
Quoting Aviationfreak (Reply 3): The one at the hangar is having QF titles on it. John Travolta's private plane?
That aircraft is VH-XBA. It had been in store under the guise of HZ-123 for several years, when a group of dedicated Australian engineers restored the aircraft back to flying condition, and flew it back to Australia where it now is at the Qantas Founder's museum in Longreach.
countvis From UK - England, joined Feb 2012, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5692 times:
Quoting spetouss (Reply 9): Is the effective take off length of runway of about 1800m enough for flights reaching Southern Italy, Greece or even Cyprus and Egypt ?
On days when the conditions were favourable, longer flights would be possible using loco A319s. But to consistently be able to take a full load out of Southend, the airport has said about 1000nm is maximum distance with A319s. Faro is very slightly longer than that, and probably as far as easyJet will go. With any longer routes, you risk having to leave passengers and luggage behind sometimes.
Having said that, Germania should be commencing a weekly charter to Istanbul on behalf of the Ford Motor Company tomorrow morning which is 1700nm. However I suspect these flights will not be carrying a full payload, and hopefully such a route could be consistently operated off the runway at Southend with say, only 100 passengers.
757s have better runway performance than the A319s, and could perhspas reach some of the destinations you quote, however we will have to wait and see if such flights ever materialise.