MP slams Amazon for continuing Southend Airport night flights

AN MP has hit out at Amazon for failing to comply with overnight restrictions on cargo flights when operating from Southend Airport.

Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, said he received several complaints from residents who had been disturbed by flights taking off and landing during the night.

The reports come just six months after an agreement was struck that the cargo flights would not operate later than 12.20am.

Sir David said: “It seems that the planes are arriving at various times, but I have not been able to identify yet if it is Amazon only or other airlines.

“As far as Amazon are concerned, it is essential that they honour the commitment that they gave to the chief executive of Southend Airport.”

The MP also wrote to Amazon and told the retail giant it is “totally unacceptable” residents are being woken up.

He wrote: “The chief executive of Southend Airport gave me an assurance that there would be a change to the night-flight schedule so that the last flight would take place at 12.20am and the first flight would not be before 6.45am.”

Amazon UK wrote back to explain they try to balance “any potential impact on residents with the need to serve our customers”.

Councillor Daniel Cowan (Lab) of the St Laurence ward helped secure the agreement but admitted it is “rarely adhered to”.

The airport told him the restrictions “could not be guaranteed” and the council cannot force a change because of a legal agreement, known as a Section 106.

He said: “It is frustrating, on one hand residents feel badly let down and I share that but on the other hand no promises were made and none were broken.”

A spokesman for the airport said: “Our section 106 agreement controls night flying at the airport. We have always, and will always, comply with its conditions.

“The cargo schedule did change in June and, minor variances for the usual operational reasons aside, the single daily night flight involved has operated to that schedule.

“However, other operators can and on a small scale, do operate at night within the limits set down by the S106 agreement.”

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter