BBC News, East - Ian Barmer & Rachael McMenemy

Between April 2019 and April 2020, London Southend had a bumper year with 2,150,000 passengers. Pandemic restrictions hit in March 2020, and numbers nosedived to 147,000 for the period between April 2020 and April 2021, and just 94,000 for the same period 2021-2022.

When the pandemic hit, Southend's three main carriers - EasyJet, Ryanair and Wizz Air - pulled out of the airport and only EasyJet has returned, but it is only flying to three destinations.

EasyJet, the anchor airline for the airport, is only offering flights to Faro, Palma and Malaga this summer and Mr Mayes is clear the airport "needs to grow" if it has got a future.

"We're hoping to get more airlines back into London Southend but also trying to grow that partnership with EasyJet, trying to get them to put on more flights and especially to some very popular sunshine destinations that we used to serve," he says.

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