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Lydd Airport £55m investment ‘set to create 200 jobs’

Two hundred new jobs, a new roundabout on a key junction and an eventual half million passengers a year.

All these could be the fruition of an expanded Lydd Airport, a boss told councillors.

However, he revealed, the runway extension’s opening is delayed by another year following the mass of complex planning conditions plus pre-building preparations.

Lydd Airport executive manager Hani Mutlaq
Lydd Airport executive manager Hani Mutlaq

Hani Mutlaq told a Lydd Town Council meeting: “In January last year we discharged 56 conditions for matters such as noise.

“We are now in the stage to start construction.

“The second phase will be in early 2017 so at the end of 2017 the runway will be completed.

“The total investment on the project will be £55 million. We are looking to break even.

“Every business has risks and without taking risks you are not a businessman.

“If plans go well we expect to have 200 extra employees to reach our target of 500,000 passengers.”

The first phase of construction is the pre-building work, which is expected to go ahead this year.

He said the airport was hoping to initially have 30,000 passengers a year.

One planning condition means that the business would have to pay to build a roundabout at Hammond’s Corner, the junction of the A259 and the B2075 to Lydd.

Mr Mutlaq added that once the extension was built there would be no night flights even though the airport is licenced to operate 24 hours a day.

It would remain silent from 11pm to 7am to prevent disturbance to local people.

He told councillors: “For the sake of making locals happy we are giving away a lot.

Lydd airport on Romney Marsh
Lydd airport on Romney Marsh

“But in our business plan we expect to attract small aviation to start with and then hope to attract corporate jets.”

He predicted there would be an initial loss of £15 million in the project with having to invest in wages, supplies and building materials.

It is hoped that the financial returns would eventually come.

Mr Mutlaq added that Bristow Helicopter’s search and rescue service at the airport would be given a permanent location there.

It has been running there for HM Coastguard since last August and has been working within temporary structures.

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