Many travellers were surprised when easyJet announced that it would start flying from London Southend Airport. From April 2012 (in time for the Olympic Games) the low-cost airline will operate 70 flights per week on ten scheduled routes to popular holiday and business destinations including Barcelona, Faro, Ibiza, Edinburgh and Belfast. EasyJet's routes will add to the airport's current offering of flights to Galway and Waterford with Aer Arann and summer flights to Jersey with Flybe.
Southend Airport is owned by the Stobart Group, which has invested heavily in the air field, constructing a new control tower and train station. Plans for a new terminal and hotel are well underway.
Southend's USPs are reduced flight times, a speedy terminal experience (15 minutes from plane to train is the goal) and regular trains into London (eight per hour). Journey times to the city are about 50 minutes, roughly the same as the Stansted Airport-Liverpool Street journey.