WORK has started on the first phase of a multi-million pound expansion at Lydd Airport.
Lydd Airport on Romney Marsh has appointed specialists Capita to design and manage its runway extension.
Capita, part of the design team for London’s £14.8 billion Crossrail transport scheme, will be providing project, cost, construction and design management services for the airport as well as civil and aviation design services.
Lydd Airport Executive Manager Hani Mutlaq said: “Capita has a wealth of experience in the highly specialised area of designing and building transport infrastructure, and was selected for this project partly on the basis of its recent work on the design of a similar runway extension at Southend Airport.”
Lydd Airport’s 294m runway extension, plus a 150m starter extension, will be the first phase of its £25 million development plans, which also include a new terminal building.
Once completed, the extended runway will enable B737-type aircraft to fly with a full payload of passengers, maximising the availability of routes and aircraft choice to operators.
The airport is now nearing completion of a number of pre-commencement conditions required to enable planning permission for the runway extension to be implemented.
Bosses hope to invite contractors to tender for the runway construction project in late summer and anticipate that work will begin before the end of the year.
In the meantime, managers will be flying to Dubai in May to showcase the airport’s development at two major travel and aviation events, where they expect a high level of interest.
They will join more than 250 companies showcasing the latest technology, innovations, products and services to around 7,000 visitors.
Mr Mutlaq said: “These events attract high-level decision-makers and buyers from across the leisure, travel and aviation industries worldwide and provide an excellent platform for us to explore new business opportunities.
“ The shows will also give us the chance to look at the latest technology.
Lydd Holdings, which owns and operates Lydd Airport (also known as London Ashford Airport), has already spent £35 million upgrading the airport over the last decade – including the installation of a state-of-the-art instrument landing system; a new executive terminal with VIP facilities; improved passenger check-in and security; and a new departure lounge.
It caters for a wide range of aircraft operations and provides extensive services, including full air traffic control and navigational aids, an FBO (fixed base operator) with 24-hr operating capability, full terminal services and engineering and cargo facilities.
Airport bosses claim the expansion will create new jobs and bring vital regeneration to the Marsh Area.