SOUTHAMPTON Airport is set to submit plans to extend its runway in a matter of days.

The airport proposes to extend the runway by 164 metres and if approved by Eastleigh Borough Council, work will start in early 2020 for completion by the end of the year.

When contacted, the airport would not give a specific date for the submission but confirmed it would be within “days” and before the end of October.

The airport claims the expansion will increase jobs on site from the current level of 950 to 1,500.

Friends of the Earth, the Green Party and Extinction Rebellion have banded together to fight the plans. Calling themselves Airport eXpansion Opposition (AXO) they accept the need for a small regional airport, however, because of the climate crisis believes people must fly less.

It is urging residents to sign a petition calling on the council to reject the plans.

The airport will be hosting drop-in sessions for the public to learn about the plans.

They will be on: Thursday, October 24 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Bitterne Park School; Saturday, October 26 from 10am to 12pm at Southampton Airport; Tuesday, October 29 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Shawford Village Hall.

Winchester MP Steve Brine visited the airport on Wednesday October 9 to understand their plans on behalf of his constituents, particularly those living to the south of Winchester.

He pressed home that, while he recognised that Eastleigh Borough Council is the planning authority, any plans must fully involve Winchester City Council and its elected members.

Mr Brine said: “At present Southampton Airport is every day watching potential customers go past its front door all the way into London to fly back over its head. This is not about creating more demand, it’s about giving people locally some choice and developing the regional economy at the same time.”

“I was grateful to Neil Garwood and his team for briefing me on the emerging planning application and keen to make the point that Winchester must be every bit as central to the process as Eastleigh because my constituents are clearly involved.

“It was also a chance to discuss the future of electric, and hybrid electric, planes which is a fast developing technology and something I am really interested in.”

Southampton Airport Managing Director Neil Garwood said: “Our vision is for Southampton Airport to provide the best possible connectivity for local people, and avoid many of those needless car journeys on congested roads to the busy London airports.

“We are looking to build a brighter future for our region through sustainable growth and will have a team of experts on hand to speak to residents of Winchester and the surrounding villages at the drop-in session on October 29.”