Saturday, October 24, 2009

Southend Airport Refutes Allegations Of Stobart Rail Freight Terminal Plan

New Station to Handle Passengers for Olympics Visitors Flying In
Shipping News Feature

ESSEX – ENGLAND – Further to our story of two days ago London Southend Airport were quick to deny all allegations that the site was being developed for an intermodal handling facility by the Stobart Group who have acquired the site. In a statement to the Handy Shipping Guide Mr Alistair Welch, the airports Managing Director said,

“We were interested to read comments made by Mr Free. Without addressing in detail each of the inaccuracies in his comments – relating to passenger forecast data, airport rent arrangements etc – his fundamental claim is that the aim is to create a cargo hub ‘by the back door’ and that the airport will become some road/rail cargo depot.

“We are currently building a rail station which will allow passenger services to stop at the airport from May 2010. There are no plans whatsoever for any cargo related sidings or similar. The suggestion that road freight would travel to Southend to trans-ship to rail or vice versa is simply wrong – and it would defy commercial logic.

“We are firmly focused on progressively developing a regional airport to support the demand locally and for inbound air passenger traffic to London. Our aim is to complete the development of the airport in time for the Olympics in 2012, given the exceptional connectivity the airport will have to the Olympic park in Stratford via the frequent on-site rail service.

“In addition, we have committed to the local councils that if we developed the airport we would enter into a legal agreement limiting cargo related flights to less than 10% of total flight numbers.”

In the meantime work is due to commence on extending the airports main runway to accommodate larger aircraft whilst construction of the rail facilities continue apace.

Pic: Southend on Sea Pier in its heyday