The Echo reports that Southend Airport is up for sale – just after Rochford DC gave them planning permission to build a railway station in advance of building a new terminal.
Councillors and airport workers have received the following letter (the airport have given us permission to publish this):
28th January 2008
Dear Colleagues, Councillors and Stakeholders
Major opportunity to secure Southend Airport?s future growth
As soon as the Airports? White Paper was published in December 2003, vetoing ideas of a new London Airport in the Thames estuary, it gave the green light to the future of Southend Airport and more passenger flights.
Planning policy at all levels now supports the redevelopment of Southend as a local and regional airport and its contribution to new employment in the town and the Thames Gateway regeneration zone.
Support is also evident in the progress of the airport railway station, where we are now at the advanced stage of negotiation with Network Rail and the Department of Transport on the terms of the investment and a date of the 12th August 2009 has been set for opening the station. Last week, Rochford confirmed that the station construction can proceed before the new passenger terminal is to be built alongside it.
Another big step forward was achieved just two weeks ago when the CAA granted ?in principle? approval for the airport?s plan for an additional 250 metres of runway without any disturbance to the nearby St Laurence Church.
The slightly longer runway would allow the Embraer 195?s of Flybe and other passenger aircraft with up to 150 seats to use the airport with a full complement of passengers and, therefore, make Southend much more attractive to airlines for providing passenger services.
The Joint Area Action Plan being drawn up by Southend Borough Council and Rochford District Council will now be able to consider the possible extension as one of its options and recommend accordingly, before a planning application is submitted.
With all of these building blocks in place, and the challenging timetable to be ready for the 2012 Olympics, the Directors of Regional Airports Limited have recommended that the Airport be offered to investors experienced in turnkey development and with the financial muscle to implement the plan on a timely basis.
This will now be made public in the local and national press from today, promoting the airport to the financial markets.
Over the past 18 months the airport?s business has been growing well and we have received several approaches by investors, some for the FBO opportunity and some for the airport itself, so we expect a lively response to this investment proposal to expand Southend, and expect the exercise to take three or four months before we have selected a preferred purchaser, and perhaps five months before a deal is concluded.
For the airport managers and staff, for airport based companies, for local authorities and stakeholders, this is an important milestone that will secure jobs and be a boost for confidence in the town and business. The community has supported the airport for years and this step should see their dream for more passenger flights being delivered, to both business and leisure destinations.
I will be managing this whole process through, as will Alastair, and I do not anticipate any change to the existing management and staff structure as a result of this transaction. I will take care to ensure that all staff and airport based companies are kept well informed as the matter proceeds.
The building blocks are in place, so now it is time to bring in the serious money. May I take this opportunity to thank you all for your patience and part in the progress of Southend Airport and its forthcoming development as a modern local airport to be proud of.