London Luton Airport (IATA Airport Code LTN, ICAO Airport Code EGGW, previously called Luton International Airport) is an airport about 30 miles to the north-west of London in the town of Luton, Beds.
An airport was first opened on the site on July 16, 1938 by then Secretary of State for Air Kingsley Wood. During the Second World War the airport was used as a base for RAF fighters.
Following the war the land was returned to the local council who continued activity at the airport as a commercial operation, providing the base for major tour operators such as Euravia (now TUI, following previous growth as Britannia Airways) and Monarch Airlines. In 1972, Luton Airport was the most profitable in the country. The airport suffered a severe setback in August 1974 when a major package tour operator Clarksons, scheduling flights via its airline Court Line (which also operated local bus services), went bankrupt.
The next fifteen years saw a process of rebuilding, including the opening of a new international terminal in 1985. At this time Ryanair flew flights from Luton to Ireland. In 1990 the airport was renamed "London Luton Airport" in order to boost the profile of the airport in the eyes of foreign visitors, likely to be heading to London but not realising Luton was close. In 1991, Ryanair transferred its base of operations to Stansted, again resulting in the decline in the airport's importance in the British transport network. This trend was dramatically reversed later in the 90s with the introduction of charter flights for Airtours and new 'low cost' scheduled flights from Debonair and easyJet, the latter making Luton their hub. A new railway station, Luton Parkway, has been built to serve the airport and provides services to London's St Pancras and to the north on the Midland Main Line, and also on Thameslink routes. A free shuttle bus connects to the airport.
Currently, Aer Arann, British Airways Citiexpress, and low cost airlines Easyjet and Ryanair (with flights including those to Milan, Italy and Dublin, Ireland) fly scheduled services from Luton. Britannia Airways and Monarch Airlines fly charter services from Luton. DHL and Streamline are amongst the more frequent operators of freight only flights and expensive bizjets represent a significant proportion of travelling visitors.
Alongside the main runway is a grass runway used for private flying.
Number of millions of passengers using Luton airport.
- 1995/96 1.9
- 1997/98 3.4
- 1998/99 4.4
- 2001 (calendar year) 6.5