SOUTHEND Airport has stepped in to run cargo flights that had been landing at Stansted after the airport had to close at night for runway renovations.

The first flight, operated by ASL Airlines using Boeing 737 cargo aircraft, arrived at Southend Airport from Leipzig at 3.45am this morning.

Southend Airport has stepped in to offer a landing spot, as London Stansted Airport, the usual destination for the flights, is closing at night to allow for “complex” runway renovations between midnight and 6am for the next 11 weeks.


“It’s reassuring that Southend Airport is able to step in and offer the same service that some of the larger London airports offer,” councillor Martin Terry.

“Bosses at Southend Airport are clearly working very hard to find new customers and ensure the airport’s continued revival.

He added: “With the leadership team working as hard as it is, I imagine it will only be a matter of time before we see the return of some the passenger airlines we lost over the pandemic.”

In November, Southend Airport first announced it would be working with an unnamed temporary logistics partner to operate between January 10, and March 25.

The operation will see cargo flights depart in the evening and land in the early hours three times a week.

ASL Airlines is not the airport’s logistics partners; it is the airline being used to facilitate the operation.

Airport bosses say they cannot reveal the identity of the logistics partner but add that the partnership is vital to protect finances and jobs as it awaits the resumption of easyJet passenger lights in March.

“This short-term logistics operation will operate three flights per week, and the income generated will support local jobs,” an airport spokesman said.

“During the winter months we will also be having more discussions with airlines as we continue to redevelop commercial passenger operations, which is our primary focus going forward.”

In mid-September the airport halted Amazon night flights, citing a “change of strategic focus”, and following pressure from campaign groups and MPs.