Liverpool Airport is destined for great things looking ahead to the next 12-24 months off the back of what has been a difficult period being COVID. Let’s take an inside look.
AviationSource chats with the airport CEO John Irving. Irving has been in his role since March 2018, and has helped the airport get through a global pandemic, and focus on getting things back on track post-pandemic.
Without further ado, let’s get into it…
Jet2 Out of Liverpool Airport As Well As It’s Diversification of Services…
Irving emphasised that this is a big step for the airport, especially in getting back to a post-pandemic normalcy in terms of passenger numbers.
“We are prepared for Jet2’s arrival next year with its 20 routes, of which seven are brand new to Liverpool”, he said.
“Passenger experience is a big focus for us ahead of this, as we want to ensure that our track record of 95% of passengers getting through security in 10 minutes is maintained”.
“On top of this, we are expanding our outlets airside through new restaurants, shops and more, to give passengers even more of an enjoyable experience when they use us”.
On the topic of direct long-haul services, Irving said:
“Never say never, but for the short and medium-term, this isn’t a focus for us as we have the connectivity already through the likes of PLAY & Lufthansa”.
This diversification of services coming from the likes of Aer Lingus, Loganair, easyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air & PLAY are putting the airport on the map.
Not Worried About Wizz Air Pratt & Whitney Issues on Capacity…
Wizz Air is a major part of Liverpool Airport, especially on the low-cost carrier front.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the airline was going to cut capacity across its network due to ongoing issues with Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G engines, and that inspections were needed, which will bring aircraft out of service.
Asked whether the airport would be part of these capacity cuts, Irving said:
“At the moment, we have had positive indications from Wizz Air regarding services out of Liverpool. They are due to increase services on certain flights, with their Summer agenda looking strong”.
So for the time being, it looks like the Merseyside-based airport will not be affected by these external impacts.
Liverpool Airport Is Set To Push Sustainability Agenda in the Weeks Ahead…
As we exited the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a big focus industry-wide on net-zero by 2050 due to the effects of climate change having a negative impact on the earth.
Liverpool Airport CEO Irving said to AviationSource that although they haven’t screamed and shouted about what initiatives they are undertaking, this approach is going to change.
“We have been doing a lot in the background. When COVID hit, different things became a priority, and rightly so”.
“From ensuring staff had access to furlough, to making sure that we could get the airport through the pandemic, sustainability is now something we have been focusing on more over the last 12 months”.
“For example, we have won our appeal with Liverpool City Council to get a solar farm installed on the airport’s land, which will provide 3 mW of power, which will reduce emissions by around 20% when built”.
On top of this, Irving confirmed that it’s first decarbonisation report will be released in the next few weeks, with the airport going for a more ambitious target for net-zero.
“In this report, we will detail what programs we are participating in. We are aiming to be net-zero by 2040, 10 years earlier than the global target”.
Recovery Set for 2024…
This remains the case for Liverpool Airport, who have made significant gains in this process since last year.
2022 saw the airport handle around 3.5m passengers, and Irving confirmed to AviationSource that by the end of the financial year, around 4.4m will be handled.
“By the time that Jet2 is in full operation and is handling tens of thousands of passengers, we expect the airport to be in the pre-pandemic position of five million passengers per year”.
“We know that our terminal is capable of handling more than that, but we will continue to work with our partners to get more routes and services to make this a reality in the future”.
For context, Liverpool Airport’s terminal is certified to handle up to seven million passengers annually, and things are looking good on that aspect.
COVID-19 Was Tough But Liverpool Airport Got Through It…
The COVID-19 pandemic was tough for airports. As airlines reduced or cancelled all services, this left airports such as Liverpool John Lennon Airport in a difficult situation.
However, through the utilization of ad-hoc cargo services, this did produce enough revenue for them to remain afloat.
“COVID was tough. Cargo services accounted for a lot of our revenue, and compared to nowadays, the levels are lower”, Irving said to AviationSource.
“During the pandemic, we took advantage of all government schemes to ensure our staff at the airport got what they needed during this tough time”.
“We made tiny bits of restructuring around the business to ensure our longevity. We ensured communication was made with our loyal staff. The fact we are a smaller airport than others, we were able to do this effectively”.
What remains clear is that Liverpool Airport, under the guidance of CEO John Irving, has made it through to the other side and is doing extremely well.
It is an exciting time for the Merseyside-based airport, capturing the attention of the likes of PLAY, Jet2, Lufthansa, Wideroe and others in such attraction to the local catchment area.
Looking into the Summer season next year, it’s going to be interesting to see how the new operation with Jet2 will work, and whether there is any scope for the carrier to expand further out of the region.
In this case, the only way is up for Liverpool Airport, and we stand ready to see what other developments they have in store going into the future.
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