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Delays to Lydd runway expansion

Hopes that Lydd Airport's runway expansion would start this summer have been dashed, after it's emerged there have been setbacks in purchasing land needed to make it happen.

It was previously expected that work would start in summer 2018 and completed by early 2019.

But more space is required to expand the runway by nearly 300 metres for fully-loaded passenger jets, something bosses say they are working hard on to help deliver the project.

Lydd Airport. The first Small Planet plane touches down at LyddPicture: Paul Amos FM3217885 (2281814)
Lydd Airport. The first Small Planet plane touches down at LyddPicture: Paul Amos FM3217885 (2281814)

Hani Mutlaq, Lydd Airport general manager, formally known as London Ashford Airport, this week said: "We are still sorting part of the runway extension land purchase which has taken more time than expected.

"But we hope that this will be sorted soon so the project can go ahead.

"2019 will be the initial start if things will go as planned."

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

Mr Mutlaq has expressed his frustration at delays in the past, while preliminary groundworks have already been completed at the site for some time.

The two main projects which will see the biggest change to the airport’s traffic and see passenger numbers soar are a new terminal and an extension to the runway – which were proposed nearly 12 years ago in December 2006.

Approval to extend the existing 1,500m runway by 294m and a 150m starter area and to build a brand new terminal facility capable of taking 500,000 passengers a year was granted by Shepway council in 2010.

Once completed the runway will be able to handle fully loaded Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft.

Lydd Airport
Lydd Airport

There has been a waiting list for hangers and bosses have been considering adding more to the airport to increase its £35 million investment to the site so far.

The airport says the expansion will maximise the routes and choice of aircraft available to airlines and will 'provide much needed extra capacity in the south east'.

The aim of the airport is to create a successful and modern regional airport creating new jobs and 'act as a catalyst for economic growth' in Kent.

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