A state-of-the-art £200million mass passenger transit (MPT) system linking London Luton Airport (LLA) with Luton Airport Parkway railway station have been announced.

The news was a highlight at the launch of Luton’s ambitious and wide-ranging £1.5billion inward investment programme which outlines a 20-year plan for major transformation of the town and signals how the borough will achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth and create jobs for local people.

Construction is already well under way on the airport’s separate £110million redevelopment plans, and together the combined investment will transform the passenger experience and enable LLA to increase its capacity by 50% to 18 million passengers per year by 2020.

The MPT system will be a fully-automated, two-way, 24-hour, guided light rail people mover based on latest system technology and design innovation, and when complete will enable a quickest direct journey time between London St Pancras and the airport terminal of under 30 minutes.

LLAL has appointed Arup to design and procure the scheme, and it is anticipated that a planning application will be made in the early autumn. Work could begin in 2017 with the system ready for operation by the end of 2020.

It is envisaged that fares would be included under train ticket or car parking arrangements, or available for separate purchase, as with the current bus service.

The growth of the airport is predicted to increase its economic impact by 77% from £1.3billion to £2.3billion by 2030 and create 10,500 new jobs over the next 15 years.

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