HUNDREDS of people have shown their interest in working at Southend Airport as more than 850 people enquired about 200 jobs on offer.

The two-day job fair comes after a booming summer of business at the airport which saw a 50 per cent rise in passengers.

Earlier this month the airport confirmed the recruitment drive with roles in security, ground handling and cleaning.

A spokesman from Southend Airport, “We’d like to thank everyone who attended the airport recruitment event.

“We were amazed to welcome over 850 people.

“The conversation was buzzing with talent and experience and the interest and enthusiasm in our immediate opportunities and future career paths was overwhelming.

“We are inspired by the enthusiasm and support for the airport and are very proud to be a Southend employer.”

Brian Hickey, 66, said that the new jobs on offer can only be a positive for Southend. The Thorpe Bay resident, said: “It’s really beneficial for jobs in Southend.

“It puts Southend on the map. People will be more aware of what’s in and around Southend.

“The whole airport has been improved. Check in and baggage is much faster and new staff can only help speed it up even more.

“Increased passengers can only be beneficial.

“If there is an impact on queues, it can’t be as bad as those at Gatwick and Stansted!”

Sue Hickey, 62, added that the airport has improved drastically. She said: “It’s improved tremendously. It’s so much better, efficient and so much quicker.”

Their thoughts were echoed by councillor Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture, tourism, who confirmed the council is working with the airport to improve the town and its economy.

He said: “The new jobs at the airport will continue to boost its good reputation.

“It’s been a really good summer.

“We want the airport to be a continued benefit for the economy of the town.

“I keep hearing about residents praising the airport. The idea of it being 15 minutes away from the town centre really appeals to them. They can hop off a plane and be home in 30 minutes.”

Councillor Daniel Cowan added while the airport has a positive impact on the town’s economy, residents’ concerns must be listened to. He said: “The boost in business will bring more jobs to Southend and will make the town more attractive to larger companies.

“There will be more opportunities in Southend with more people coming to the town through the airport. We have to make sure that we are maximising these.

“I know the airport is making a good contribution to the economy and I hope it continues to do so.

“The airport getting larger internally and externally will bring more job opportunities to Southend, especially the new business park.

Mr Cowan stated, however, that Southend Council needs to do more to address several issues. He added: “The council must to more for pollution and the environment.

“Parking is also an issue. The airport is running out of car parking spaces which means visitors are parking on residential streets. This isn’t fair on the people of Southend.

“We’re looking at ways to improve public transport to and from the airport, but this will take time.

“We need a balance between the positives the airport creates and the negatives which come with it.”