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Suspect package found at Southend Airport 'harmless'

Police in Essex have lifted cordons at Southend Airport after a suspicious package was found to contain rubbish and old clothes.

The airport was evacuated after emergency crews were called at about 10.40am.

Bomb disposal teams inspected the bag, which had been left on a roundabout near the airport approach road, and found it to be harmless.

Roads were reopened shortly before 1pm and police say traffic congestion in the area is expected to clear soon.

It is not thought that two loud bangs heard at the time were related to the incident.

Loud bangs reported as Southend Airport evacuated

Southend Airport has been evacuated as bomb disposal teams deal with a suspect package at the terminal.

Essex Police were called at about 10.40am today after airport staff discovered the unattended bag on a roundabout near the airport approach road.

An Explosive Ordnance Disposal team has been called to the scene.

One passenger reported hearing two loud bangs at about 12pm.

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Airport bids to control airspace

Southend is increasing the number of scheduled flights using the airport Credit: ITV Anglia

People in Southend are to be given further information about the airport's plans to reintroduce controlled airspace.

Southend Airport controlled the airspace around the runway up until 1993. Now senior managers say they want it back to further safeguard planes flying in and out.

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Southend Airport named best in Britain

Southend Airport comes out top in survey Credit: ITV News Anglia

Southend Airport has been rated the best in the UK by a passenger survey

In a poll of more than 11,000 passengers conducted by Which? magazine, the Essex terminal scored the highest marks in an assessment of 10 separate areas. It had an overall customer score of 84%.

The survey looked at areas like the speed of check-in, airport security, passport control, information and navigation, and airport design.

London Southend Airport Operations Director David Lister said “This is wonderful news and testament to all the hard work that the team here at London Southend has put in.

"We think our unique promises to passengers – that they should wait no more than 4-minutes to go through security and that, on arrival with hand baggage, they are on the rail station platform within 15 minutes of leaving the aircraft- is what has been a big part of our success over the last year."

It wasn't such good news for Luton Airport though. It came bottom of the survey scoring only 43%.

Stansted Airport Credit: ITV News Anglia

The survey also showed that Stansted Airport had the longest average check-in desk waiting times in England and Southend the shortest. The consumer magazine Which? said smaller airports had generally performed better.

Record passenger numbers for Southend Airport

Southend Airport

Southend Airport has seen a record number of passengers in the past year.

More than seven hundred thousand people have used the airport in the last 12 months.

Work is currently underway on a £10 million extension to the main terminal building which will allow London Southend to handle upt o 2 million passengers a year by 2020.

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