East Midlands Airport (EMA) have announced an investment programme of more than £120 million to improve all aspects of the passenger experience over the next five years.

Following an intensive period of planning and design, work is getting underway on the transformation to refresh the airport infrastructure, maintain safety and regulatory standards and help it operate more efficiently – making travel through the airport even more effortless than it already is for its more than 4 million annual passengers.

Works have started on the extension of the security hall, following planning approval from North West Leicestershire District Council. Internal improvements will include enhancements to the entrance portal to improve access into the main security area, as well as enhancements to the facility to improve its look and feel.

This will mean that next generation body and baggage scanning technology can be installed to allow passengers to pass through security checks without the need to separate electronic devices from baggage. This will improve EMA’s already excellent timings for clearing security which is typically under 15 minutes. This security changes are part of new Government rules, which will also see the removal of the 100ml liquid restrictions.

Also underway are improvements to the main customer toilets in the Departure Lounge, next to the Castle Rock bar. This will involve replacing and upgrading the facilities to a modern standard with new fixtures and fittings. Further upgrades to customer toilets will follow. It’s hoped that later phases of the investment programme will see the new look and feel in the security hall carried through into the Departure Lounge, where new and additional customer seating will be installed. All this will complement an extensive refurbishment of the bar area that Castle Rock is carrying out.

As part of the investment programme, EMA is also exploring a range of options for improving the Rapid Drop-Off area which will help to improve the flow of vehicles through the site, which could include installing cashless and barrierless operating systems.

In addition, work has begun to upgrade the terminal roof which due to the age of the building is in need of remedial work. The first phase will focus on the roof above the Departure Lounge area which during heavy rainfall can suffer from leaks.

Reconstruction and resurfacing of the taxiways will also be carried out. The size and number of aircraft using EMA has increased and this drives the need to invest in renewing and reconstructing some of the most heavily trafficked areas to better accommodate modern aircraft. This work will be carried out through carefully managed programmes of closures including overnight and at weekends and in consultation with airlines so disruption is minimised.

Also taking place will be bringing the air traffic control equipment up to the latest standards, helping to future-proof the airport’s capabilities. This will include state-of-the-art radar systems, navigational aids, new IT and software and airfield technical equipment.

Another significant part of the programme is upgrading facilities and infrastructure such as electricity sub-stations around the site, surface water and drainage systems, to maintain compliance and support the future growth of the airport.

Steve Griffiths, EMA’s Managing Director, said:

“This is the start of a very exciting period for the airport. Our passenger numbers are almost back to pre-Covid levels and our already significant air cargo operation has capacity to expand, along with the potential for growth and investment that the East Midlands Freeport brings.

“This programme of substantial investment at EMA demonstrates our confidence in the future and will help to improve the experience of flying from and trading through East Midlands Airport. We’re really proud of the effortless travel we provide that prompts people to choose EMA for their holidays abroad, and of the vital part we lay in powering UK trade. We’re always looking at ways to improve and this investment will help us do that over the next five years and beyond.”

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