Eastleigh Borough Council has approved the planning application for the extension of Southampton airport’s runway.

The airport had wanted the runway to be extended by 164 metres to enable its use by larger aircraft, which it said would “safeguard the future of the airport”.

Borough councillors voted 22-13 (with one abstention) in favour of the planning application, with the airport’s operations director Steve Szalay commenting:

“This is the news we have been hoping for and working so hard to achieve. By listening to the overwhelming public and business support, as well as the planning officer’s recommendation to approve, the councillors have safeguarded the future of the airport. The decision also ensures we are well placed to provide employment and support the region as we seek to recover post pandemic.

“We are excited about our future. This positive decision allows us to further develop our plans, play a full part in the Solent Freeport and deliver on our commitments set out within the planning application, which will further enrich our neighbouring communities.

“Thank you to everyone who has engaged with the consultations and shared their thoughts and opinions. We listened and reflected your feedback within our plans. You have helped shape the future of Southampton Airport.

“We appreciate that some of our neighbours have concerns regarding noise and the environment. Please be assured that we want to work with residents to mitigate these issues going forwards.”

Campaign group AXO (Airport Expansion Opposition Southampton) said that figures showed that 46,000 local people would be affected by increased noise as a result of the runway being extended, up from the current 11,450.

British Airways recently announced plans to launch flights from Southampton airport to 11 European destinations this summer, including Berlin, Bergerac, Edinburgh, Faro, Florence, Ibiza, Limoges, Malaga, Mykonos, Nice and Palma de Mallorca.

British Airways launches flights from Southampton airport