London Luton Airport redefines the passenger experience and targets sustainable growth
Providing unrivalled choice for guests is a key focus for London Luton Airport (LLA) Chief Commercial Officer, Jonathan Rayner, and his team as the airport maps out its vision for sustainable growth.
Having welcomed more than 15 million passengers in the past 12 months, LLA has continued to deliver a strong operational performance, with four out of five passengers rating their experience as ‘very good or excellent’. *
The airport’s focus on delivering a simple, friendly and efficient passenger experience has not gone unnoticed. In recent months, LLA has been voted the UK’s best airport by the readers of prestigious travel magazine Condé Nast Traveller, as well as being named as a finalist in the UK Customer Experience Awards (CXA), for a third consecutive year.
LLA is undergoing a comprehensive transformation and recently announced investment worth more than £30 million in passenger facilities. Key projects include the installation of the latest security screening technology, expanded facilities for PRM (Persons with Reduced Mobility) passengers and an expanding range of new shops and restaurants including a flagship, 500 seat mezzanine restaurant that will overlook the departure lounge. Other significant investments include the phased introduction of new and upgraded washroom amenities across the airport, as well as an enhanced children’s play area.
This year also saw the launch of the Luton Airport Express, an approximately half-hour rail link from central London that has made LLA one of the capital’s best-connected airports. The service has been transformational, running from London St Pancras to Luton Airport Parkway station, where passengers seamlessly switch to the electrically powered Luton DART shuttle that connects to the LLA terminal.
Speaking to Air Service One at the 153rd IATA Slot Conference, Jonathan Rayner, Chief Commercial Officer at LLA, said: “London Luton Airport has completely pivoted towards the passenger experience. As well as the significant investment we are making in facilities, we have focused on delivering new efficiencies to enhance the end-to-end passenger experience we offer. Beyond that, we are continually looking to providing unrivalled diversity of choice to ensure that passengers can get everything they are looking for as they travel through the airport.
“We have an ambitious trajectory of innovation and sustainable growth and we are always looking to identify new opportunities to grow our offering, from the possibility of an on-site hotel to increasing the portfolio of airlines and expanding our route network.”
As the number of passengers travelling from LLA continues to rise, now exceeding 90% of its pre-pandemic passenger figures, increasing capacity is also high on the agenda. The recent Government approval of LLA’s planning application to increase its annual passenger cap from 18 million to 19 million passengers per annum was welcome news, but the additional 1 million passengers will merely help to satisfy existing demand and the ambition is to boost capacity even more.
Anticipating a continued future growth in demand for air travel, Luton Rising, owned by Luton Council and the owner of the airport, has put forward a separate DCO application to increase LLA’s passenger capacity to 32 million.
As Jonny explains: “London Luton Airport’s commitment to delivering broader and more inclusive facilities, and the delivery of our ambitious sustainable growth plan, all highlight our position as a dynamic player in the evolving London air travel market. With an eye on the future, everyone at LLA will be working hard to not only meet, but exceed, the expectations of our growing number of passengers.”
*Measured as part of ASQ, the globally recognised airport customer service benchmarking programme