LARGE 737 jet aircraft are already operating from Lydd Airport despite the runway extension being uncompleted.
The move was described as a ‘disturbing development’ by Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG), who fear an increased risk of an aircraft colliding with the nuclear power station at Dungeness.
Newmarket Holidays relocated from Manston and began its service last Sunday using Boeing 737s operated by the Lithuanian charter company, Small Planet.
Louise Barton, from LAAG, said: “Lydd Airport sought planning permission for a runway extension because it could not operate B737s commercially (full payload) from this airport. The aircraft will be apparently half -laden.”
She added: “This is a disturbing development since these aircraft will be operating at the boundaries of their specification on the existing short runway.
“This would be acceptable at a “normal” airport but not at Lydd which is located beside a nuclear power complex. No other airport in Europe and most likely the world is as close to a nuclear power complex.”
Louise says B737 activity in June will be on June 8, 14, 21, 22 and 29.
She said: “passengers will need to pray for good weather and the absence of an easterly wind as such weather conditions could leave them stranded at another airport because of the inability to land at Lydd.”
Expansion plans for a new passenger terminal and extended runway at Lydd Airport were granted by a Government inspector following a long inquiry.
Conservation group the RSPB and LAAG launched High Court appeals earlier this year in a bid to halt the expansion but a High Court judge ruled in favour of the airport rejecting all grounds.
Mr Justice Ousley said that the inspector had reached a “perfectly sensible conclusion which the Secretaries of State for Communities and Transport were entitled to accept as they did”.
He dismissed concerns over effect on bird habitat.