SOUTHEND Airport will not be sold to balance the books, its owners have vowed.

Stobart Group, which has ploughed more than £100million into the airport’s regeneration, has said it will not consider cashing in on the asset to soothe its strained finances.

The company is thought to want to sell several parts of its empire, after warning shareholders it would not generate as much profit as expected this year.

But in a statement issued to the Echo, Stobart said it was “as committed as ever” to Southend Airport.

The statement added: “Southend Airport, and the substantial Stobart Group investment in its development, has resulted in an outstanding success story.

“This summer we will reach the first million passengers through the airport since its redevelopment.

“New routes continue to be announced and the airport benefits business and the region as a whole on the back of its success.

“Stobart Group is very proud of Southend Airport and is as committed to it as ever.”