Boss of Southampton Airport warns '2,000 jobs could be lost' if expansion plans aren't backed

  • Watch a full report by ITV Meridian's Mary Stanley

The new operations director of Southampton Airport is urging local residents and businesses to back plans to extend the runway.

Steve Szalay has warned that 2,000 jobs could be put at risk if the plans don't go ahead.

The airport says it's vital for the local economy but objectors say it will have a huge impact on noise and pollution.

Southampton Airport's boss has warned that 2,000 jobs could be put at risk if the plans don't go ahead Credit: ITV Meridian

Operations at Southampton Airport have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the collapse of Flybe in March wiped out around 90% of its business.

The airport's operations director warns the future is bleak, unless plans to expand airport are approved.

The proposals include extending the runway by 164 metres - the airport says that would encourage new airlines and routes.

Original plans unveiled last year met with opposition and and have now been revised - with extra landscaping and noise insulation measures.

A second consultation is to begin on its proposals, which also involve adding new parking spaces.

Local resident Angela Cotton lives close to the flight path and isn't convinced by the revised plans.

In Eastleigh town centre, there was a mixed reaction from residents on Wednesday.

One woman said an expansion would be "fantastic" and that the airport is "limited" by the length of the runway as it is currently.

Meanwhile, one man said: "They should keep it how it is now - it's much better like that because I live nearby and the noise is not easy to live with."

Eastleigh Borough Council will decide on the application after the second consultation.

If the plans are approved, work could start at the airport in the winter and be ready for use a year later. 

Residents and businesses have a month to make their views known during the public consultation which will last for four weeks. It can be viewed here.