THE future of Southampton Airport is not guaranteed if plans to extend the runway are refused, airport bosses warned.

Steve Szalay, the director of Southampton Airport, is urging residents to have their say on plans  to expand the runway by 164 metres.

The news comes as a second consultation on the proposals has now been launched.

As reported, last year the plans were met with criticisms as residents said to be concerned about the impact the runway extension would have on pollution and the environment.

But Mr Szalay warned that due to the coronavirus crisis and the collapse of FlyBe the plans are no longer about growth but about survival.

He said the plans would create about 600 new jobs and would bring tens of thousands of pounds into the local economy.

He stressed that the environment remains a priority for the airport.

He added: “There’s no guarantee we will be here if we don’t get that extension. Last year the plan was all about more choice, more routes, more profits now with the loss of FlyBe is about survival. No business can survive without customers and to attract these customers we need the expansion. “

Mr Szalay stressed that data revealed that there is a demand for the extension and he said to be confident that airlines will come forward if plans are approved.

“As a business we would not invest millions in the runway if we would not believe there was a great future,” he added.

He said the expansion of the runway could provide more flights to European destinations.

When asked about the impact the extension would have on the environment he highlighted that the airport has become carbon neutral and the mitigations that will be provided as part of the new plans are “enough” to protect the environment.

Mr Szalay also said in the future electric planes could be trialled from Southampton.

But he added: “The electric aircraft will be five to ten years in the future but we have to survive to have a future. We absolutely need the extension.”

He had previously warned that if the plans are refused 2,000 jobs could be at risk.

Now he is urging residents to have their say on the revised proposals.

Residents can leave a comment on the the planning application which has been submitted to Eastleigh Borough Council.

As reported, in the new plans the number of parking spaces that could be added to the long stay carpark has been reduced from  600 to 470.

Mitigation measures will include noise insulation for buildings including schools, hospitals and households.