SIR: You recently reported that Winchester’s MP, Steve Brine, spoke in favour of expanding Southampton Airport to accommodate larger jets. Alongside Eastleigh’s MP, Paul Holmes, they painted a picture that extending the runway enables greener travel and the local council is blinded by ideology. You also published a story from Business South – a group including Southampton Airport – on, “the pivotal role the airport plays in the economic viability of the Central South region.”

Evidence submitted in the airport’s planning application does not reflect an airport that is vital to business. Flybe, previously Southampton’s biggest customer, had financial difficulties long before Covid-19 finished it off. Flybe previously flew to commercial centres like Milan, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf, but all were quietly withdrawn long before the pandemic. Most other routes from Southampton were domestic UK or European leisure destinations.

The latest planning documents claim to address noise concerns, however the noise corridor over Winchester still doubles in size. Forecasts show 56 additional flights of A320 jets daily, potentially between 6am and 11pm, with more overnight. Anyone hearing the weekly EasyJet A320 flight from Geneva knows it rattles windows – now imagine this several times an hour.

The aviation industry has touted radically quieter, more efficient planes and so-called green fuels for decades – while they tinker with existing designs and emissions rise. Meanwhile, our MPs promote the idea of technology that may not be commercialised for 30 years as justification for increased blight now. Flybe’s small Q400 turboprop was one of the quietest and cleanest aircraft flying, but traffic was insufficient to sustain even these, and their experiment with larger jets was a commercial disaster.

It seems the aim of Southampton Airport’s “Project Sun” is to attract low-cost carriers like Ryanair. The only business likely to benefit is the airport itself, so it is disappointing that Winchester’s MP prioritises this over air quality and noise blight to his constituency.

David Peilow,

Northbrook Avenue,