Stobart readies Southend for post-COVID era

London Southend Airport (SEN) owner, the Stobart Group, has announced a series of moves to meet the post-COVID era. It has successfully raised £140m and said it will invest “tens of millions” over the coming years to improve the passenger experience in the post-COVID era.

A company statement said the enhanced passenger experience will be “focused on maintaining a constant flow of passengers and avoiding bottlenecks and human touchpoints”. The airport said it is investing in a new generation of security scanning equipment that means “passengers will not be expected to take electronic devices or liquids out of their bags”.

It also noted that it plans to ensure passengers can enjoy plenty of personal space and estimates that departing passengers benefit from an average of more than 183sq ft (17m²) of space each. At the same time, the airport will be restricting terminal building access to passengers only. It is not yet clear if this is intended to be a permanent move. It is also requiring all staff and passengers to wear face masks and says it will provide more than 100 hand-sanitising stations along the passenger journey. All key contact points, from check-in to immigration checks, will be protected by bio-shields and a Grab-App allows passengers to pre-order retail items and collect them at the airport.

Warwick Brady, CEO of Stobart Group, said: “At London Southend Airport, we will specifically design and implement an improved passenger experience for postCOVID-19 travel, making use of significant unutilised space and technology to enhance passenger confidence, while providing a cost-efficient base of operation to airlines.”