BOSSES at Southend Airport have revealed they are working towards the ambitious target of having 12 million passengers per year by 2040.

Glyn Jones, chief executive at Southend Airport, revealed major plans including new jobs, quieter cargo flights and new technology that has “never been used in any British airport”.

It comes after the airport saw the biggest growth if any airport in Europe in the year before Covid hit, recording 2.2 million passengers.

Last week, the Echo reported how the airport’s mission to go green has seen it recycling rainwater, harnessing power from solar panels and drastically lowering emissions from planes.

Airport bosses are working with Southend Council with an environmental management plan, after it declared a climate emergency in 2019.

During a presentation to councillors, Mr Jones said: “We plan to grow to 12 million passengers in the next 20 years and this can vary due to size of planes.

“We are focusing on improving noise, air quality and carbon and are looking for 60 new workers across various departments of the airport too.

“We are also the only airport in Britain to have technology allowing people to leave all items in their bags.

“We are also looking forward to a grant of £2million to help with parcel and item handling.”

During the meeting councillors quizzed Mr Jones on noise disruption for residents.

He responded: “We face the ultimate conumdrum which is dealing with the disbenefits to individuals while we see the social benefit of the airport.

“We are not using as many night cargo flights as we could do and are only having about a quarter of that with 58 in January.

“We are also looking to replace the 734 flight which is noisier than others.

“It’s about getting the balance right, and it’s not easy people complain with real concerns and issues.”

It comes after it was revealed more than 7,000 noise complaints were made to Southend Airport over the course of a year from 630 households.

The airport’s annual report showed that a single resident made 550 complaints about the noise levels.