Luton DART

The Luton DART (Direct Air-Rail Transit) will speed travellers from Luton Airport Parkway station to the terminal of London Luton Airport in well under four minutes.

The project will provide a step-change in how passengers get to and from the airport, and is being funded and delivered by Luton Council’s airport company, London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL).

Scheduled to open in 2022, passengers will be able to travel between St Pancras and London Luton Airport in just 30 minutes using the fastest trains and seamless Luton DART transfer.

The scheme will be a double-shuttle, fully-automated people-mover, based on the latest system technology and design innovation, capable of operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cable-driven system is energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

The Luton DART complements the airport operator’s recent £160m transformation programme to deliver a truly world-class passenger experience at London Luton Airport.

Story so far

Work on the Luton DART will be completed in 2022. Below you can see some of the key moments along the way.

  • July 2017: planning permission received
  • December 2017: contractors appointed
  • April 2018: start of works
  • December 2018: opening of temporary new drop-off zone
  • Autumn 2019: bridge installation
  • Winter 2021: train installation
  • 2022: open for service


London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL)

London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) is the company that owns London Luton Airport. Its sole shareholder is Luton Council, which means that the benefits flow into local communities rather than to private shareholders. LLAL’s objectives include supporting:

  • Luton Council with its £1.5bn Luton Investment Framework to drive economic and employment growth and improve people’s lives
  • essential front-line service delivery in Luton
  • voluntary and community groups in areas impacted by airport operations
VolkerFitzpatrick-Kier (VFK)

VolkerFitzpatrick and Bedfordshire-based Kier are among the UK's leading engineering and construction companies, and together they have formed a joint venture to deliver the state-of-the-art Luton DART. As lead contractor, VFK is responsible for building and completing civil works for the:

  • Luton DART Parkway and Luton DART Terminal stations
  • Gateway Bridge, over Airport Way
  • viaduct, leading out from Luton DART Parkway station
  • tunnel and approaches to the airport terminal
  • maintenance area
Doppelmayr Cable Car

Doppelmayr Cable Car is an Austrian-based provider of automated people movers using cable propulsion technology, and a specialist supplier of transport solutions to the aeronautical industry. DCC is manufacturing the vehicles, that will travel 24 hours a day between Luton Parkway and the airport, and the operating system.


Arup is an independent firm of design, environmental and technical specialists who work with clients to help solve their most complex challenges. Arup designed the DART scheme infrastructures and systems, and took the project through planning and procurement. Arup continues to support LLAL to project completion as engineer and technical advisor

Network Rail

Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the UK railway network, and is delivering, on behalf of LLAL, a new passenger footbridge and associated improvements at Luton Airport Parkway station which will provide easy access for rail passengers to the Luton DART.

London Luton Airport Operations Ltd

London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL) is the Spanish and Australian-owned operator of London Luton Airport until 2031, and is building a second new multi-storey car park with integrated drop-off zone in the ground floor at the airport for LLAL as part of the Luton DART scheme.

Images of the transit carriages build

Work on the mass passenger transit carriages for the DART is well under way. They’ve been built at Caravetch in Oberweis, Austria.
Click on the images below to view larger size of the images

Photo credit: Courtesy of Doppelmayr Cable Car UK Limited

dart build dart_train build

Images of work on the DART terminal at Luton Parkway

Click on the image below to view more images of the site as it develops
dart construction


Over the course of the DART project, up to 500 jobs and a number of apprenticeships are being created across a range of disciplines. Lead contractor VFK has committed to delivering a number of social value benefits, and Luton Council was delighted to secure £1m funding from the Government for a Construction Skills Training Hub at the works compound off Kimpton Road.

Social values

The Luton DART project has large-scale social value ambitions to support the economic development of the local area. Lead contractor VFK has shown its commitment to the local community by sourcing:

  • 80 per cent of materials spend (excluding steel and aggregate) from within 20 miles of Luton
  • 90 per cent of plant procurements from within 20 miles of Luton
  • over 80 per cent of the unskilled project workforce from within 20 miles of Luton
  • 100 per cent of unskilled new recruits from within 20 miles of Luton
  • 100 per cent of sub-contract and materials tenders to include a supplier from within 20 miles of Luton
  • 100 per cent of sub-contractors to sign up to the project’s Social Value Charter

Construction Skills Training Hub

A pioneering joint venture from Luton Council, its airport company and Volker Fitzpatrick-Kier (VFK) to promote skills development concluded in March 2020, resulting in more than 720 people in the area receiving essential training to help them enter the construction industry.

The Construction Skills Hub was created in November 2018 on the primary works site of the Luton DART, with a £1m grant from the Construction Skills Fund (CSF), funded by the Department for Education and administered by the CITB.

Main contractor VFK developed and delivered a series of construction-specific training programmes to a variety of college students, career changers and others either unemployed or out of education. More than 300 of the delegates were attracted from traditionally under-represented groups.

In addition, VFK created more than 80 full-time new jobs on the DART for local apprentices, graduates and other new entrants.

The scheme has also focused on supporting the trainees into permanent positions.

Luton logocitb


Over the course of the DART project, approximately 500 jobs are being created in a range of disciplines.


As part of its commitment to using and training a workforce, VFK has:

  • taken on 30 apprentices throughout the life of the project
  • provided work experience opportunities for 25 people in education and 15 people outside education, training or employment
  • created 78 new jobs for local people
  • attended at least 30 students’ careers information, advice and guidance events
  • provided training and qualification for more than 250 of the sub-contractor workforce.

Meet the buyer

Construction of the Luton DART has provided a number of opportunities for local businesses. A large project like this needs skills, materials and employees from a wide range of sectors. Lead contractor VFK has already held a number of networking events for potential partners, and is always keen to hear if your services match its needs.

LLAL Community Funding

LLAL recognises on a wider level that there are inevitably some undesirable consequences from having a major airport on the doorstep, and is committed to achieving the right balance between economic benefits and environmental impacts. One of the most effective ways it does that is through investing in local communities.
You can read our Community Funding Policy here,


Luton's DART bridge move a fantastic success

The graceful looking DART Gateway Bridge is now firmly in place across the A1081 after a perfectly executed move and installation at the beginning of December.

Apprenticeship schemes help Faiza cross career bridges

Luton-born Faiza is playing a key role in delivering the town’s largest construction project, following an apprenticeship with Luton Council

DART Gateway Bridge installation means road closures near airport

The next significant milestone in the construction of the £225m Direct Air-Rail Transit (DART) between Luton Airport Parkway station and London Luton Airport takes place at the end of November when a bridge is installed across the A1081.

Construction skills academy opens

19 March saw the official launch of the Luton Construction Skills Academy following the announcement of a £1 million fund secured from the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) Skills Fund late last year.

Piling works to begin on the Luton DART

Residents and nearby businesses are advised that two phases of essential sheet piling works are due to begin shortly on the pioneering £225m Luton DART fast transit project.

Work gets under way on the Luton DART

A ground-breaking ceremony today (Tuesday 17 April) marked the official start of works on the state-of-the-art £225m Luton DART fast transit system, linking London Luton Airport with Luton Airport Parkway railway station.

Plans submitted for MPT at London Luton Airport

Plans for a state-of-the-art £200 million mass passenger transit (MPT) system linking London Luton Airport (LLA) with Luton Airport Parkway railway station have been submitted, the airport’s owner London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) announced today.

Have your say on airport transit proposals

You are invited to comment on plans for a mass passenger transit (MPT) system linking London Luton Airport (LLA) with Luton Airport Parkway railway station.

Recent news items from London Luton Airport Ltd

Read more news about LLAL


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