Located 25NM north of central London and 1.5NM east of Luton, London Luton airport is quite unique.
Despite handling over 12 million passengers a year and over 114,000 aircraft movements, the airport only has one runway with a total length of just 7,000ft. Not only this, but the airport does not have a complete parallel taxi-way thus meaning the majority of aircraft are required to back-taxi a proportion of either runway 08 or 26 and make a 180 degree turn.
To continue, London Luton airport is located on the top of a hill within a very hilly area. This makes high winds and low visibility common at the airport. The main road towards the airport provides a great view of the approach to runway 08 and its elevation.
The length and elevation of the runway proved too much in 1974 when a Dan Air B727 damaged the localiser equipment when taking off from runway 26. The subsequent investigation revealed that the aircraft only just became airborne at the end of the runway, and as the ground fell away to the Lea valley below, the aircraft actually followed a downsloping course until finally gaining positive climb.
In recent years, the road to the airport terminal runs under taxiway A through a tunnel. However in past times, cars were required to wait at traffic lights to allow aircraft to cross.
The layout of London Luton airport in general is very unique. The layout resembles a roundabout in some ways, with the passenger terminal centre, circled by a system of taxi ways. Click the link below for a detailed look at the taxi way and apron area of London Luton airport.
London Luton airport is like Marmite (some people hate it, some people love it). Despite numerous renovations of the airport terminal and apron, the north London low-cost hub remains heavily popular and congested. In future years, plans are in place to extend the taxi way so it runs parallel with the entire length of the airports runway, this should reduce delays and improve capacity. Furthermore, work is currently underway to totally revolutionise the terminal building and access roads with a new car park and pier under construction.
Two things that will remain, is Luton airports unique layout and the huge orange eye-saw that is EasyJets HQ. Thank you for reading this article on London Luton, follow the link below to a great forum full of nostalgic pictures of Luton airport.