A dynamic airport at the heart of a thriving community.
London Southend Airport is the UK’s fastest-growing regional airport, with a rich history – and an exciting future.
We served circa 2 million business and leisure passengers in 2019, flying to over 50 destinations across Europe. The airport is quick to get to from Central London and offers an easy passenger experience once in the terminal.
The airport is served by up to six direct trains an hour from London Liverpool Street, with journey times of circa 52 minutes. Passengers can also get to the airport from Stratford Station in around 40 minutes.
The airport terminal itself is easy to travel through with lots to do when you’re here. Our security queues are the joint fastest in the UK, and once airside, passengers can enjoy shopping at World of Duty Free and WH Smith, or spend time in our bespoke pub, The Navigator.
Free from overcrowding on the ground and in the air, we’re just a short trip to the heart of the continent... and the heart of the capital.
All of this put together makes flying to, or from, London Southend a quick, easy and most importantly – happy experience.
London Southend Airport: Past
We owe our creation to the First World War when The War Office listed the site as a potential landing ground in 1914. In 1915, the first flight was taken by Flight Sub Lieutenant A.W. Robinson in a Bleriot aircraft in an unsuccessful attempt to intercept a German Army Zeppelin.
The Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Flying Corps both used Southend as a base during the Great War.
In 1933 the airport site was purchased by Southend Council, and was officially opened as a municipal airport in 1935.
During the Second World War, Southend Airport was used by the Air Ministry and all civilian flights were halted. The airport, renamed RAF Rochford, was home to fighter squadrons and talented servicemen and women of all nationalities. After the war ended, Southend Council took over the airport once again, with scheduled services to the Channel Islands and Ostend.
New runways in the mid-1950s enabled commercial flights for passengers and cargo operations, as well as the arrival of a new generation of aircraft.
In the 1960s, British United Air Ferries (later British Air Ferries) became synonymous with Southend Airport, providing cross-channel services. We even broke records: 692,686 passengers used the airport in 1967.
By the mid-1970s air traffic went into decline, although BAF and, later, Air UK ran scheduled services to European destinations and the Channel Islands. As scheduled flights declined, engineering and maintenance became an important part of the airport’s business.
In the 1990s, Southend Council ended its long-running ownership of the airport, and sold the site to Regional Airports Ltd.
Esken bought London Southend Airport in 2008, and swiftly upgraded navigation, lighting and increased the runway by 300 metres. A new state-of-the-art air traffic control tower and mainline railway station were opened in 2011, the same year that easyJet signed a ten-year agreement to use Southend as a new hub, with flights to a range of European destinations
London Southend Airport: Present
Things have really taken off since 2008 …
In March 2012, the runway extension became operational and our new passenger terminal building was officially opened by Secretary of State for Transport – Justine Greening. We were able to handle a new generation of medium capacity, high-efficiency jets for short-haul scheduled flights and holiday charters.
A month later, a proposed extension to the new terminal at London Southend Airport was given the go-ahead by Rochford Council to help meet our target of serving 2 million passengers by 2020.
In the same year, the new on-site hotel, Holiday Inn Southend, was opened with 129 rooms, 14 executive rooms, six suites and a rooftop bar and terrace with spectacular airport views.
The terminal building became 90 metres longer with more check-in desks, security screening channels, larger Departure and Arrivals areas, and more space for retail and hospitality.
We have won ‘Best Airport in London’ by Which? Airport Passenger Survey, an impressive six times in a row and are proud to be one of the fastest growing airports. It’s safe to say London Southend is simply London’s favourite airport.
With a catchment of 8.2 million users, 60% of which come from London, it is becoming the airport of choice for more passengers and airlines.
We are a passenger-first airport and our goal is to take the stress out of being at an airport.
Thanks to our onsite train station located 100 paces away from the passenger terminal, it takes no more than 15 minutes from plane to train.
Since doubling our passengers in the last two years, we are confident for the future.
London Southend Airport: Future
What’s next for London Southend Airport?
We’ll be taking you to new places with the addition of exciting new routes...which in turn will bring new visitors to our local area. This means growing the airport, upgrading the runway and more.
We promise to keep improving your journey, from the moment you leave home to the moment you board the plane. We’ll deliver a quick and easy experience by upgrading transport options and employing dedicated teams to help you.
We will continue to invest in our infrastructure with new terminal developments planned in 2021 enhancing facilities for all our airlines and passengers.
We have no plans to slow down, only to keep improving on what we love to do – helping our millions of passengers make happy memories.