Simple Flying - Luke Peters

As London Luton Airport celebrates its 85th anniversary, Simple Flying takes a closer look at the airport's current operations, its history, and its critical role in bringing cheap package holidays to the masses at the start of the boom in inclusive tour travel back in the 1960s.

With its position as the fifth busiest airport in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, London Luton Airport continues its post-pandemic recovery. But the airport has perpetually struggled to find a niche in the crowded London airport arena during its lifetime.

Nowadays, the airport, located 34 miles (54 km) north of London in the southeast of England, is fighting hard to regain the 18 million passengers it enjoyed in 2019 before the pandemic hit. With 13.3 million using the airport in 2022 and with around 15 million forecast to use the airport this year, the airport's recovery is well underway.

Yet, how did a small former municipal airfield in semi-rural Bedfordshire become a major international gateway serving over 150 destinations around Europe?

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