Luton Airport Overview
The London Luton Airport (LTN/EGGW) is the capital’s fourth busiest airport (after Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) and sixth in the UK overall. Like Stansted it is an important hub for low-cost air carriers that mostly concentrate on the European market.
The airport is located just 1.7 miles east of the town centre of Luton, a small town in Bedfordshire and approximately 35 miles north of Central London. It is situated on a hilltop near the river Lea, with a spectacular 130 feet drop close to the western end of its only runway.
On July 16, 1938 the Secretary of State for Air, sir Kingsley Wood presided the opening ceremony of the new Luton Airfield. It was a timely event as the prospects of war looked grimmer by the day. During the Second World War Luton served as RAF base for fighter wings but since it was located north of London its importance remained relatively small, as most of the German attacks came from the south.
After the end of the war the land appropriated for the airfield was returned under the governance of the local council. The community however realized the importance of being a vital transport hub and supported the growth and development of the airport. During the 1960s Luton quickly bloomed, accommodating a growing number of low-cost charter carriers that operated mainly to European destinations. By 1972 Luton had become the most profitable airport in the UK, mainly because of its much lower service fees as compared to Heathrow and Gatwick.
The next fifteen years saw a gradual decline however, mainly due to the lack of investments and the rise of Stansted. The airport authorities finally realized they need major investments in infrastructure and attracting new business opportunities. By the mid-nineties the new policy started to pay back and more and more people came back to Luton. The steady growth of the passenger output hit a peak in 2008, when for the first time in its history the airport served more than 10 million passengers per year. The feat was repeated in 2014 when Luton hit the record books with over 10.4 million passengers.
It is funny that Luton might be much better known and recognizable than its larger counterparts Heathrow and Gatwick. The airport was depicted in the successful TV series Airline and the reality series Luton Airport that follows the lives and work of the staff.
Much like Gatwick and Stansted the top list here is dominated by European destinations. Actually, of the top 20 routes only two are outside Europe – Tel Aviv in Israel and Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. But the fact that Luton is arguably the cheapest of London airports to fly to is easily recognized when you see a lot of Eastern European airports in the list – including Budapest and Bucharest (first and third respectively), as well as Katowice, Vilnius and Sofia.
Traveling to Luton
As you can expect, getting to Luton is not a mind puzzle and you have multiple options at your disposal.
- Luton Airport Parkway from the St Pancras station in London;
- Thameslink connects to Bedford, St. Albans, Wimbledon, Sutton, Brighton and Gatwick Airport;
- East Midlands Trains from St Pancras to Bedford, Corby, Leicester, Beeston and Nottingham.
- Local bus lines from the centre of Luton to the airport;
- Green Line Coaches from Victoria Station, London;
- EasyBus from Liverpool Street Station, London;
- National Express to Stansted Airport;
- Metroline 714 to and from St Albans.
Driving to Luton
The airport is located a few miles away from the M1 motorway which goes southwards to London and connects with M25 or northwards to Leeds. The airport has short and long-term car parks with shuttle buses to the main passenger terminal.
*The easiest way to reach any given address in Greater London or Essex from Luton International Airport (LTN) is to book a shuttle cab with Snappy Airport Transfers - we are available 24/7!