£28m Leeds Bradford airport plan ready for take-off

PLANS for a £28m redevelopment of the main terminal building at Leeds Bradford International Airport – which could create up to 2,000 new jobs – were unveiled today.

Airport bosses will submit a planning application for the scheme – part of a wider five- year 70m investment plan – at the end of this month.

The airport's chief executive, John Parkin, said the announcement confirmed private equity firm Bridgepoint's commitment when it bought the formerly local authority-owned business in May 2007.

The work would go ahead "notwithstanding the current economic situation globally".

Mr Parkin said: "We are publishing our plans. We are going out to consultation. We are asking the public for their views. This is part of a process which leads up to a planning application by the end of this month and a potential determination, subject to planning, in March/April next year."

The terminal redevelopment will take about a year to complete and bosses are confident the work can be carried out by May 2010 without disrupting day-to-day business.

Mr Parkin added: "Roughly speaking the current terminal is crescent shaped. By the time we have finished developing it, it will be semi-circular. We are filling in the front."

The new build extension will be on two floors: check-in/security will be on the ground floor, with security moved to the centre of the building. This area will be significantly larger than at present and will include a fast-track facility for business customers. Once through security, customers will move to a first floor departure lounge, larger than the current facility, which will have natural light through a large atrium-type roof.

Mr Parkin said as well as explaining to people what the development plan was, it was also important to emphasise what it was not.

"We do not require an extension to the runway. Not now and not in the future. We do not plan any significant increase in night flying which, we know, is of concern locally and there is no need for any increase in off-airport car parks."

Regarding job prospects, he said: "The airport already employs 2,200 people on site, directly and indirectly, and we expect that to grow significantly as we build the business.The rule of thumb, roughly, is that for every million passengers of throughput it's roughly 1,000 jobs.

"We have 2.9m passengers going through the airport terminal at the moment and the plan is to take that to in excess of five million by 2013.

"That means new routes and services."

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