A BUS company has withdrawn its late night and early morning bus routes to Southend Airport after security “banned” its vehicles from airport grounds.

Ensign Bus announced yesterday on social media that it was withdrawing the Jetlink X1 route, from London Victoria to Southend, until further notice after a bus driver was refused entry to the airport on Tuesday night.

On Friday, the airport announced a new partnership with Greater Anglia to run earlier and later trains to the airport.

And now bosses at Ensign, which has never had a formal agreement with the airport, have slammed the airport for failing to support “a valuable service being provided”.

They also claim they are providing a service that the partnership with Greater Anglia is not - allowing fliers to arrive at the airport two hours before take off in the morning.

Greater Anglia is now running an extra service in the morning, departing from Liverpool Street at 4.30am.

But Ensign has stated its early service arrived at the airport at 4.30am, two hours before early morning flights at 6.30am - as Southend Airport guidelines suggest on its website.

Peter Newman, Ensign chairman, said: “Regrettably, Southend Airport will not allow us to enter the airport grounds at all, they have totally banned us.

“They told us on Saturday, but as we were still in negotiations we continued to run until last night, when they instructed our driver to leave.

“In full view of customers waiting to use the bus, security forced the driver to leave the site.

“Southend has always had a problem in the morning and late at night with a lack of transport, and we have effectively helped combat the issue.

“They have the new partnership with Greater Anglia but the trains are still not early enough - the first train gets into Southend Airport for 5.30am, but the website says you should arrive two hours before the flight and they regularly have flights at 6.30am.”

He added: “It seems that they do not want public transport, but we have been providing a service that is necessary.”

A spokesman for the airport said: “Southend Airport works with a number of transport partners to offer its passengers different options to get to and from the airport in a sustainable way and is always happy to discuss ideas to improve service to its customers.

“We very recently agreed new services with Abellio Greater Anglia which extend the schedule of the airport rail service to earlier and later trains.”

The spokesman added: “At this current time, the airport does not have any agreement in place with Ensign buses.”