London Luton Airport Ltd has become Luton Rising

London Luton Airport Ltd has become Luton Rising to avoid confusion with London Luton Airport Operations Ltd, which runs the airport.

Under a wide-ranging agreement, which deals with the impact of fewer passengers and loss of income at the airport since March 2020, the airport operator London Luton Airport Operations Ltd will retain £45 million over a three-year period from past and future passenger income that would have been due to Luton Rising – the council’s company that owns the airport – had passenger numbers not reduced.

The agreement will support the airport’s recovery from the pandemic.

The money would have been paid by the operator to Luton Rising (ie. the council) if it had not been for the impact of Covid reducing passengers and flights. Luton council usually, pre-Covid, made a good profit from the airport, but that has now been reversed. The Council in 2019 received £19.1 million, and £15.8 million servicing debt. In September 2020 there was a £60 million loan by Luton Borough Council to its airport company and it was expected that another £23 million would be paid. Then in June 2021 Luton Council loaned a further £119m to the airport. Now, this is another £45 million, over three years.

Luton Rising’s chief executive Graham Olver said: “This agreement sets out how we will continue to work together over the coming decade to build back better, stronger and greener, and support the vital economic and employment recovery that we will want to see in the supply chain and across the region.

“Importantly for Luton residents, this has also been achieved with no direct impact on council tax and continues to protect the vital investment we make every year in voluntary and community services to improve people’s lives.”

Regarding the rebrand, Graham added: “We are changing our name at an important and exciting point, as we prepare to consult early in the new year on our proposed expansion of the airport.”

The airport’s chief executive Alberto Martin said: “The pandemic has been the biggest crisis in aviation history, wiping out 20 years of passenger growth almost overnight.

“As the sector begins to recover, this deal, in partnership with the airport owner, enables us to prepare for future success and creates reassurance for the thousands of people and the many local businesses who rely on us through the supply chain.”

“We are changing our name at an important and exciting point, as we prepare to consult early in the new year on our proposed expansion of the airport. One example of this is our approach to the environment. As owners of an airport, we are fully aware of our environmental impact: particularly carbon emissions, noise, traffic, and air pollution. And we aim to go further, pro-actively supporting the council’s target for Luton to be carbon neutral by 2040” he added.

Its sole shareholder is Luton Council and Luton Rising’s chairman Cllr Javeria Hussain explained: “As the most significant business in the region, the airport generates 27,000 jobs and £1.8 billion in economic activity. Our other assets, such as the Luton DART, have given opportunities to hundreds of people to develop skills and begin their careers, and our business parks will take this further. This is key to achieving the town’s 2040 vision of a town where everyone can thrive and no one has to live in poverty.”

The rebrand was revealed at the launch event of Morton House, new skills, innovation, and business hub which will create 200 jobs for the town.

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