London Luton Airport hopes to boost passenger numbers
Luton airport has announced plans to boost passenger numbers by nearly seven million a year.
Proposals released by London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL) aim to also create 6,000 jobs.
The airport, the UK's fifth biggest, would handle 18 million passengers a year under the plan, up from 11.5 million.
Its 57% growth bid comes after claims of an air travel capacity shortage in south east England, by 2020.
A four-week public consultation will begin on the 6 February and will include a series of public exhibitions around the region.'Good neighbour'
The project, known as "futureLuToN:Optimisation", has already been introduced to the airport's consultative committee, which represents local residents, councils and community groups.
In a statement, LLAL said the growth "can be achieved within the airport's existing boundary and using the existing runway" and it will consider what modifications and improvements will be required.
LLAL Chair, Councillor Robin Harris said the airport needed to be ready to "embrace market demand in the future" but it would "listen carefully" before submitting a planning application.
"The benefits that will flow from the airport's development will be realised in the local, regional and national economies," he said.
"We are committed to ensure the airport will continue to be a good neighbour and any growth in passenger numbers is managed in a responsible manner. Impacts on the environment, noise and road traffic flows will be fully evaluated as part of the process."
LLAL has said it intends to submit a planning application for consideration in or around April, at which time a further statutory consultation will be undertaken by Luton Borough Council as planning authority.