THE introduction of a new executive lounge in departures at Bournemouth Airport next year has been earmarked as a priority by the site’s owners – after it had initially been planned to launch this summer.

Talks of a ‘premium lounge’ for passengers first surfaced in 2018, with the airport using Twitter to gain opinions on the offering.

It had appeared to be planned for this summer with a booking feature set-up online, however, the development has been pushed back to 2020.

Minutes from the most recent meeting of the Bournemouth Airport Consultative Committee said: “The Premier Lounge in departures had been delayed whilst details were finalised to provide the best facility in the right location.”

Members at the meeting were also told car park works were ongoing to create an additional 200 spaces, primarily to be used by staff to free up car parking for passengers, while a park and ride scheme is being considered.

A spokesman for Bournemouth Airport said: “The Premier Lounge is a strategic priority for 2020.

“Proposals for additional car parking spaces are going through the planning process. We are currently assessing and appraising opportunities for a park & ride or similar scheme.”

These plans come as airport owners Regional & City Airports wait for a verdict on three planning applications on the wider Aviation Park site for 30 hectares of employment development land, an estate link road and a manufacturing site on Aviation Park East.

Gareth Bowden, president of Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: “Anything like this investment is great for the area. It can hopefully lead to more jobs and provide a boost for the economy.

“It is brilliant to see people investing in the area and pushing forward with their plans.”

Regional & City Airports, an arm of Rigby Group, purchased the Hurn site in 2017.

Mr Bowden said their approach since taking over had been very positive.

“They (Regional & City Airports) have been great,” said Mr Bowden. “We have Peter Thorne on our committee (and chair of the consultative committee). He is very involved with the airport and it is great to be kept informed about what is going on. They seem very keen to make the airport a success, which is great.”

BCP Council leader Vikki Slade said any planning applications relating to the airport would be considered in relation to planning policy.

“All major planning applications need to balance the economic, environmental, congestion impact and the impact on residents,” said Cllr Slade. “As a council, we have a local plan and we work within the remits of the local plan, while planning policies provide the basis for decisions on planning applications.”