LEEDS Bradford Airport (LBA) has announced a £100m investment into a regeneration of its terminal facilities to improve the passenger experience and help unlock economic growth for the region.

Approved by Leeds City Council, the work is set to commence in autumn 2023 and is expected to complete in 2026. Farrans Construction has been appointed as the contractor to deliver Phase 1 of the project, the construction of the terminal extension.

The regeneration will see a 9,500 square metre, three storey extension to the existing terminal, alongside a significant refurbishment of the current terminal building. Additional aircraft stands will created along with more seating, faster security, new shops and eateries, and a larger baggage reclaim area and immigration hall, as well as improved access for passengers with restricted mobility.

The airport says by 2030, the regeneration has the potential to create 1,500 new direct jobs at LBA and 4,000 new indirect jobs, as well as contribute a total of £940 million to the local economy*.

The airport further says the regeneration will also help LBA to further decarbonise its operations, as outlined in the airport’s 2030 Net Zero Carbon Roadmap, with the installation of new heating, lighting and machinery, including new baggage belts. It is expected that airlines attracted by the regeneration will accelerate the deployment of their newest, quietest and most efficient aircraft at the airport, LBA says.

Vincent Hodder, Chief Executive of Leeds Bradford Airport, said: “This announcement marks the beginning of a new era for Leeds Bradford Airport. This investment will give us the infrastructure needed to deliver an outstanding customer experience, support the growth of our airline partners, enhance connectivity for business, investment and trade and provide the airport that Leeds, Bradford and Yorkshire have been waiting for. LBA is a key asset for our region and our community, our investment enhances and supports broader investments underway in Leeds and Bradford creating new jobs, new opportunities and shared benefits for our community.”

Ilkley Gazette: CGI of inside the new terminal regenerationCGI of inside the new terminal regeneration (Image: LBA)

Cathal Montague, Regional Director at Farrans Construction, said: “Leeds Bradford Airport has played an integral role in the ambitious growth of the city of Leeds and the wider Yorkshire region, supporting connectivity to some of the world’s best destinations for business and tourism. We are looking forward to bringing the vision for its next stage to life through the extension and modernisation of the terminal. This project will be a major boost to the construction industry with jobs created through apprenticeships, direct labour and supply chain.

“We have had a strong connection to Leeds for many years, having delivered a number of important transport and infrastructure projects in the area. Farrans opened a new office in the city centre last year and we are in the final stages of the delivery of a 20-storey student accommodation project on Belgrave Street, Live Oasis St Alban’s Place. We will continue to engage closely with community groups, charities and schools to create local employment, training and apprenticeship opportunities to deliver a positive lasting impact while delivering Leeds Bradford Airport.”

This year, the airport is expected to contribute a total of £460 million to the local economy, directly employing 2,100 people and indirectly supporting 4,500 jobs.

*data collected from York Aviation analysis.

The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) has released a statement following the news. 

The group's Chris Foren said: "GALBA has no objection to upgrading the terminal in a way that reduces its current carbon footprint, though the terminal only accounts for around two per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions associated with the airport."

Mr Foren said flights cause the "overwhelming majority" of LBA's greenhouse gas emissions. 

He added: "There are two important points to note about the 2019 planning permission:

"It does not permit an increase in passenger numbers above five million per year. LBA signed an agreement with Leeds City Council that requires LBA to submit a new planning application in order to exceed five million passengers per year.

"It does not change the rules that limit the number of flights allowed at night. GALBA vigorously opposes LBA’s current CLEUD proposals to reinterpret those rules to allow more nighttime flying.

"GALBA will continue to oppose any plans to increase the number of flights from LBA because of the extremely negative impact this would have on the climate, noise levels and air pollution."