Councillors in Eastleigh battled it out online for more than 19 hours over 3 days before finally voting on the proposed 538ft extension at 02:15 this morning. The plans were approved by 22 to 13, with 1 abstention.
As well as creating 1,000 new jobs in the Solent region and bringing in £15million of investment, the expansion will mean that Islanders will be able to jet set to even more destinations as larger planes – and therefore new operators – will be able to use the airport. The airport will be limited to 3million passengers a year though.
Locals have been vocal in their objections but the expansion has previously been declared ‘vital’ to ensure the future of the airport, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Steve Szalay, Operations Director at Southampton Airport, says:
“By listening to the overwhelming public and business support, as well as the planning officer’s recommendation to approve, the councillors have safeguarded the future of the airport.
“The decision also ensures we are well placed to provide employment and support the region as we seek to recover post pandemic.
“We are excited about our future. This positive decision allows us to further develop our plans, play a full part in the Solent Freeport and deliver on our commitments set out within the planning application, which will further enrich our neighbouring communities.”