RESIDENTS are being asked to back plans for the expansion of the runway at Southampton Airport  amid warnings that  thousands of jobs could be lost should the proposals not be supported.

A second public consultation over plans to extend the airport’s runway by 164 metres has now been launched.

Residents, businesses and organisations will have 30 days to have their say on revised proposals which have been submitted to Eastleigh Borough Council.

The authority will be responsible for making a final decision on the controversial plans.

The news comes following a first consultation last year, where some residents raised concerns over the impact the expansion would have on the environment and pollution.

But Steve Szalay, the director of Southampton Airport, has now issued a warning to residents and businesses.

He said: “The runway extension is essential to ensuring we not just recover but thrive – the success of the region and the airport are absolutely intertwined.

“With the impact to employment from this pandemic already weighing heavy, we can do something to secure the jobs at the airport by getting this extension built.

“If we don’t, the reality is that more than 2,000 jobs will be at risk, creating a huge knock-on impact on thousands of local households.”

As reported, the plans also include proposals to increase the number of parking spaces in the long stay car park.

Mr Szalay said the feedback and concerns raised during the public consultation had been addressed in the airport’s revised application.

“This is not about airport expansion, it is not about bigger planes.  It is about enabling us to use existing aircraft more efficiently and effectively and creating vital extra connectivity for the region,” Mr Szalay said.

He added: “We have received strong support from local politicians and business groups who champion the importance of the airport on Eastleigh and our surrounding region – but now is the time to get behind us and show your support.”

This week the airport is also set to launch a new website with  new information on the revised planning application and a link to the Eastleigh Borough Council planning portal, where residents will be able to leave their comments on the proposals.