Leeds Bradford Airport is withdrawing plans to replace its terminal building – blaming “excessive delays” in UK government decision-making.
Airport bosses say that with large investment in the scheme to date – with a reported ultimate price tag of around £150m – they could not commit a further uncapped sum over an indefinite timeframe leading to a public inquiry process.
They were responding to the decision by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, to ‘call in’ the plans – removing responsibility from local planners and likely leading to a time-consuming government inquiry.
Focus will instead switch to developing the extension to the existing terminal, approved by Leeds City Council in 2019, to meet the rapidly increasing passenger demand as the aviation sector recovers from the pandemic.
Thanking supporters of the development, Vincent Hodder, CEO of Leeds Bradford Airport, said: “It is with regret that we have made the decision to withdraw LBA’s application for the development of a new replacement terminal. As the travel and aviation industry continues to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, LBA needs to be able to respond to rapidly increasing demand within the next few years.
“Whilst this is a setback for our airport and region, we remain committed to investing in LBA to be an outstanding, decarbonised, modern airport for the future. My team and I are optimistic about the recovery from the pandemic and about the future of Leeds Bradford Airport,” added the CEO who was appointed just over a year ago.
When initially given the green light, analysts warned the new development faced political conflict, acknowledging the UK aviation’s need for global connectivity and expansion balanced with climate change obligations.
The replacement terminal was set to open next year and featured a purpose-designed, three-floor, 34,000 square metre facility aimed to meet demand more sustainably and to achieve environmental targets. The airport said it remains committed to delivering its 2030 Carbon Net Zero Roadmap and to creating a modern, decarbonised regional UK airport within the extension scheme.