Luton spreads word to raise worldwide profile

Luton spreads word to raise worldwide profile

LUTONAirport has contacted 300 of the world's most prominent airlines in an attempt to attract new business to the airport.

Carriers in the US, Canada, Middle East and Europe have been sent a copy of the marketing booklet 'Discover London's Fourth Airport'.

It stresses the demand in Luton's catchment area for travel to the 31 countries the airport has pinpointed for new flights. New destinations include cities in Egypt, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.

Facilities, including a state-of-the-art new terminal and rail terminus, are also highlighted.

Currently the airport relies heavily on low-cost airlines and charter carriers to provide flights to Europe. Luton has no US flights and only a few medium-haul charter services.

Head of airline development Ian McQuade said there was no specific airline or destination the airport was hoping to attract, but key cities were being targeted.

"Destinations like New York are an attractive proposition and Brussels would be a very strong route," said McQuade.

He said the aim of the marketing campaign is to improve the airport's world standing.

"We want to broaden the profile of the airport as we still have a perception problem. Some airlines have not even heard of us," he said.

McQuade said the campaign is predominantly targeted at scheduled airlines, but it will not exclude charter carriers - Luton's traditional partners.

Some 23.5m passengers in Luton's catchment area travelled to the destinations targeted in 1996. This is expected to rise to 30m by 2001.

Most travel south to Heathrow or Gatwick or north to Manchester, but Luton is aiming to stop this trend through marketing new partners and with the opening of its new terminal.

The £40 facility will double Luton's available capacity to 5m when it opens in the autumn.

This will be complemented by the new £12m rail terminal which will provide direct services to London.

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