Esken group, the owners of Southend Airport, has been undertaking a strategic review of the airport since November last year and has now announced its intention to sell the business. Ironically, general aviation movements at the airport reached record levels during February 2023 with 1,148 movements recorded in just one week and 235 aircraft landings logged in one day when the airport was offering its ‘six circuits for £6’ promotion.

In a curiously contradictory statement, Esken said the outlook across the UK aviation sector for summer 2023 is ‘increasingly positive’, with larger airports expected to be at or close to full capacity, and said it expects Southend to be able to increase the number of peak time flying slots from 2024.

EasyJet currently operate services to Amsterdam Malaga, Majorca and Faro from Southend, and the airport is also supporting a new air cargo logistics partner on a ‘temporary basis’, with flights rerouted from Stansted to Southend while Stansted’s runway is upgraded at night. Nevertheless, Esken said that finding a buyer will be the best avenue to meet the ‘ambitious growth prospects’ in the long run.