North Star Supports Improvements in Rail Access for London Luton Airport

September 2015

London Luton Airport (LLA) is embarking on an ambitious transformation project. The £100m development will include a complete overhaul of the terminal building and see passenger figures rise by 50% reaching 18 million by 2020.

North Star’s brief is to increase the number of passengers reaching LLA by rail from London and the East Midlands by 2026 and provide support in the areas of operations, marketing and customer service.

Nick Barton, CEO of London Luton Airport said: “Today it is already possible to reach central London in 19 minutes from Luton Airport Parkway by train. Our vision is to build on this to create a world-class air-rail facility that delivers the speed, frequency and simplicity international travellers require. Our work with North Star is helping ensure that improvements in surface access move in step with the £100 million redevelopment that is transforming the Airport.”

The key objectives are:

  • Securing the operation of 24/7 rail services to and from the airport
  • Increasing the number of fast trains that serve the airport (creating an Express service to match those serving other London airports)
  • Delivering the extension of the Oyster card system to cover both Luton Airport Parkway station and the shuttle bus that runs from the station to the terminal
  • Upgrading the rail-air bus link between Luton Airport Parkway station and the terminal
  • Improving way-finding and signage to improve awareness of rail as a viable travel option
  • Simplifying rail information and ticketing to improve the experience for passengers
  • Raising awareness of very competitive journey times between London and the airport
  • Transforming the customer experience by delivering a seamless quality service throughout the journey

LLA and North Star are working closely with Govia Thameslink Railway, the Department for Transport and Luton Borough council to deliver these objectives within a rapid timeframe. A joint Strategic Partnership Agreement was agreed in December 2014 and overnight services and the Oyster card extension are now scheduled for implementation. The night-time services alone will make rail a viable travel option for an additional 2-3 million passengers per annum.

In the longer term, North Star is working with the Airport to inform the planning process around the new East Midlands Trains franchise that is set to commence in 2018. The new franchise will present a significant opportunity to deliver an express service and simplify the passenger experience through greater alignment between the Govia Thameslink and East Midlands Trains networks.