Norwich Airport development must consider the people living nearby, says MP Chloe Smith

Norwich Airport. Photo: Steve Adams

Norwich Airport. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

A vision to dramatically expand Norwich Airport over the next generation has been welcomed - but with a warning that sensitivity must be shown to people living nearby.

Aerial view of Norwich Airport. Picture: Mike Page

Aerial view of Norwich Airport. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Archant

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith made the call after the airport revealed a 30-year plan to increase flight routes, drive up passenger numbers and revive plans for a 100-acre business park.

Aerial view of Norwich Airport, Oct 2015. Picture: Mike Page

Aerial view of Norwich Airport, Oct 2015. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Mike Page

However, it is also seeking permission to extend its operating hours from 11pm to 1.30am four nights a week - a change which could be in place by 2020.

Chloe Smith MP. Picture: Eliza Boo Photography

Chloe Smith MP. Picture: Eliza Boo Photography - Credit: Eliza Boo Photography

'I'm always pleased to see Norwich Airport show its ambitions and set out plans to attract jobs to the area and provide services which will help put Norwich on the map,' said Ms Smith.

'But I do expect the airport to go about this in a sensitive manner that engages with local residents.'

The Norwich Airport masterplan lays out a vision to boost passenger numbers to 1.4m by 2045, establish new links with major airports in Paris and Dublin, and revive postponed plans for an aeropark housing jobs and businesses.

The plans, which are now open for consultation, have been greeted with optimism by the tourism industry, which is keen to meet demand from customers for more destination choice from Norwich.

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At Oyster Travel in Old Catton, the majority of customers use Norwich Airport for their flights, and assistant manager Laura Sudder said potential links with hub airports in Paris and Dublin could boost business.

'It's really good news for us and our customers because it means we can offer them a lot more destinations and variety,' she said.

'A lot of families like to go to Florida because they can go from Norwich via Amsterdam, and it makes it a lot more convenient not having to go to Gatwick. They'll now be able to go on to further destinations, there will be more days they can go and more routes.'

Airport bosses pledged that expansion would be done 'sustainably', with just one or two routes added a year so that demand could be gauged.