Luton councillors have approved proposals to expand the airport’s capacity for an additional one million passengers, according to reports.
The decision means the fifth busiest airport in the UK will see 19m people a year using the airport for their travel, according to the BBC, which first reported the news.
The airport will see an average of three extra flights a day as a result of the move.
Councillors approved the plans by seven votes to two, despite criticism from opponents about the extra flights and noise, after consecutive evening meetings between the council’s management committee.
There were around 20 people, representing different interest or local resident groups, who detailed their objections to the plans to the committee over the two days.
Two environmental campaigners interrupted a local authority meeting which backed the passenger expansion plans saying “What about the planet? […] Does nobody care? The most polluted town in the country and you want to pollute it more,” according to Luton Today.
Changes to the current noise contours – which are used to measure how many people are affected by noise from the airport – were also approved.
The proposals came from the company operating the airport, London Luton Airport Operations, rather than the airport owners, Luton Rising which re-named itself to avoid confusion with the operations company.
Luton Rising has its own long-term proposals to further increase Luton London airport’s capacity to 32m annually – but that application will require approval from the government rather than the council.
The news comes as passenger numbers at the airport in the summer was down two-thirds on the previous year.
But passenger traffic at Heathrow airport surged 144 per cent compared to the same time last year, following the easing of restrictions.
Data from the London hub revealed that over 3m passengers passed through Heathrow airport in October, delivering the sixth consecutive month of growth.
The relaxation of travel rules before half-term led to daily passenger numbers going up to almost 100,000 a day.