Flights from London Luton were delayed for longer than any other UK airport last year, analysis of Civil Aviation Authority data suggests. Planes left 19.7 minutes late on average, with London Gatwick, Jersey and Durham Tees Valley next worst. The top performers were London Heathrow - flights were 11 minutes late - Leeds Bradford, Belfast City and London City. Scheduled and charter flights, but not cancelled services, from the 25 busiest airports were examined in the study. The Press Association, which compiled the departure punctuality ranking, said flights across all airports left an average of 15 minutes late.
The government may have decided to go ahead with Heathrow's third runway, but that doesn't mean the debate is over. Protest groups and local councils are already vowing to oppose it all the way, and some say a third runway is unlikely to be completed before 2030 because of the planning and environmental issues. But as air travel is expected to continue growing significantly in the first half of the 21st Century, how are the UK's other major airports planning to expand? Gatwick is the UK's second-busiest airport, handling 40 million passengers a year on one runway, according to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) figures. And even before the government's Heathrow announcement, the airport's chief executive, Stewart Wingate, was arguing for a second runway at Gatwick.
"Stressful", "abysmal", and a "total nightmare" are just some of the comments used to describe London Luton Airport after it was slammed in a passenger satisfaction survey. Luton Airport scored 35% - the worst for the third year in a row. The airport's chief executive said £160m had recently been spent on improvements, and the vast majority of passengers it had surveyed were happy with their experience. So why did passengers in the Which? Rob Bowman from Aylesbury said in message to the BBC that his experience of Luton airport when he returned from a holiday in Dubrovnik in July was "horrendous".
Luton Airport, which helped pioneer affordable air travel after World War Two, is marking its 80th birthday. Luton Municipal Airport in Bedfordshire was opened in 1938 and renamed London Luton Airport in 1990. Its fame was boosted by a 1970s Campari TV advert that saw Lorraine Chase asked if she "wafted here from Paradise", to which she replied "nah, Luton Airport". A Campari cocktail named after the actress has been created by an airport restaurant to mark the anniversary. The airport - which is still owned by Luton Borough Council but run privately - was opened by Kingsley Wood, the Secretary of State for Air.