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Air-Rail Links Case Study
London Luton Airport
London Luton Airport (LLA) is embarking on an ambitious transformation project. The £100m development includes a complete overhaul of the terminal building with passenger figures set to rise 50% to 18 million by 2020. North Star’s brief as specialist technical advisor 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.
Key objectives include:
- 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.
North Star has worked closely with the airport to inform the planning process around the new East Midlands Trains franchise that commenced in 2019. The new franchise presents a significant opportunity to deliver a ‘Luton Airport Express’ service from May 2021 another step to matching those services already in operation to Stansted and Gatwick airports, and supporting London Luton Airport’s impressive passenger growth.