Lydd Airport update

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A campaign image published by the Lydd Airport Action Group

Following almost two years of Covid-19 restrictions, here is the latest newsletter from Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) who have led the campaign against the development of Lydd Airport on the basis that this would be environmentally highly damaging for Romney Marsh.

“Passenger activity is non-existent – no passengers were recorded in 2020 and only 31 (all in the month of July) so far in 2021 (November and December figures still to report). With respect to aircraft movements (flights in and out), assuming the same flight numbers as in November and December 2020, then the number of movements will be up by 6% in 2021 but still 20% down on 2003 levels – the period before the Lydd Airport expansion epoch began.  The activity is primarily light aircraft as it has been for decades.  (Contrary to last year’s report, it appears that helicopter activity is not included in these statistics).

Financial Performance

“Lydd Airport does not produce its accounts in a timely manner.  Lydd Airport’s (London Ashford Airport Ltd) 2019 accounts (year to December) were eventually produced in January 2021.  They show a further loss of £1.7m bringing the accumulated losses to £25.5m.  Last year the sister companies, Lydd Golf Club and Driving Range Ltd, Fal Aviation UK Ltd, and Phoenix Aero Engineering Ltd had produced their 2019 accounts by December 2020, but this year the 2020 accounts remain outstanding, as do those for London Ashford Airport Ltd. The only development of note is that Phoenix Aero Engineering Ltd has been closed down and delisted.

“All of the above companies are subsidiaries of the Virgin Island-based Lydd Holdings Ltd,  their directors are four members of the Al Athel clan and these businesses are accepted as “going concerns” only because of the support from the immediate and ultimate holding companies controlled by this group.

Developments

“Again there are no developments with respect to the airport’s expansion (approval in 2013 – enough holes in the ground to establish that the runway has been expanded in planning terms, even though it has not been physically and the airport has until 2023 to expand the terminal).

“This does not mean that there is inactivity with respect to this site. No businessman, even a wealthy sheikh, will sustain these losses forever.

“There are already strong indications that the sheikh is posturing to “have his cake and eat it” by lobbying hard for policy support within Folkestone and Hythe District Council’s new local plan for material new developments, in addition to, airport expansion. This is despite the evidence showing that airport expansion alone would be at the boundaries of acceptable environmental damage, with many experts claiming it would exceed them.  The local plan is almost complete and despite LAAG arguing that the wording in the local plan is illogical and therefore unsound, the latest iteration of this plan suggests that the airport has largely been successful – although the final edition has yet to be published.”

Image Credits: Lydd Airport Action Group .

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