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Esken and London Southend Airport calls on Government to work collaboratively to secure a sustainable future for UK aviation

Esken, owners of London Southend Airport and Stobart Aviation Services, today launched a series of discussion papers focused on a sustainable future for the aviation sector.

These include:

  • Airports Resilience in the Face of Covid-19
  • Sustainability: An Opportunity for Aviation
  • Airports and Their Communities: Collaboration is Key 

The Papers draw on the views of Esken’s own aviation leaders and those within the aviation industry more broadly. They address the opportunities for aviation and Government to work more collaboratively to achieve the 2050 net zero ambitions; and identify where Government support can propel the industry forward post-pandemic to support vital regional economic recovery, while protecting jobs and livelihoods.

Aviation is vital to the UK’s recovery out of Covid-19, however the sector’s success in the coming years will be measured as much by the sustainability agenda as it will by passenger numbers. Within the discussion papers Esken and London Southend Airport reflect on solutions and ways forward to balance these priorities. 

Commenting within the discussion papers, Lewis Girdwood, CFO of Esken said, “London Southend Airport sits at the centre of Esken’s future strategy and like other aviation businesses across the UK, and indeed globally, the challenges we face are not unique. We are continually striving to balance the needs of our stakeholders and the needs of the communities we serve while navigating the world’s foremost challenge – climate change.”

London Southend Airport CEO, Glyn Jones said, “Ensuring the continued viability of Britain’s airports will be paramount to handling the economic recovery, enabling the UK’s residents to return to the skies and welcome visitors once more. The underlying strategic issue has to be about supporting sustainable growth in the long-term. Right now, there is an inevitable temptation to develop strategy based on the current pandemic context, but it would be a mistake to allow the last year to entirely dictate and define the sector’s future.” 

Sustainability and climate change are the primary challenges facing aviation. It is the responsibility of the entire industry to work together to advance the global initiative towards a greener future. Over the last 18 months Esken has been dedicated to developing a renewed Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) framework. This work has enhanced and integrated ESG into all aspects of the business, from governance to hiring processes and community engagement.

In the spirit of this learning, and knowledge sharing, Esken has published its reflections on the development of our ESG framework and how this translates to running one of the UK’s fastest growing airports, London Southend.

Esken and London Southend Airport will share its findings with Government and aviation sector stakeholders and seek opportunities to make progress and implement the findings of these Papers. 


Airports Resilience in the Face of Covid-19

  • Government funding for COVID-19 testing and maintaining medical centres in airports 
  • Extension of business rates relief for airports through 2021-2022
  • Temporary suspension of Airline Passenger Duty (APD) 
  • Expansion of Public Service Obligations (PSOs) for domestic routes
  • Government and Industry to lead on agreeing and implementing global air travel standards 

Sustainability: An Opportunity for Aviation

  • Greater airport data-sharing across carbon emissions and savings technology
  • Promote cooperation amongst smaller & regional airports on instituting best practices
  • Government incentives that encourage sustainability improvements across UK airports
  • Joint investment in new technologies to position the UK as a global aviation leader 

Airports and Their Communities: Collaboration is Key

  • Community centred training and apprenticeship programmes 
  • Diversity should be viewed as an asset that aviation businesses invest in 
  • An integrated approach to policy that has local government and communities at its centre
  • Airports at the heart of regional freeport development 
  • Incentivise the adoption of new aircraft fleets to reduce noise impact 

Notes to Editors: You can access our Discussion Papers and our views on a sustainable future for aviation by visiting Our thoughts page.

About London Southend Airport

London Southend Airport, ranked the best London airport by consumer group Which? six times and voted the best UK airport (under three million capacity) by the Airport Operator’s Association in 2019. 

Serving close to 2.3 million passengers in 2019, London Southend offered services to around 40 domestic and European cities. The terminal has its own railway station, less than 100 paces from the main entrance, with up to six trains an hour at peak times to central London, taking just 52 minutes to Liverpool Street and 43 minutes from Stratford. All airport car parks are located minutes from the terminal entrance.