Luton DART

The £225m 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 2021, 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.

Transport and Works Act Order

Construction of the Luton DART continues to make progress. LLAL is now submitting an application for a Transport and Works Act Order to the Department for Transport for its consideration.

This Order is seeking powers that will enable LLAL to safely and efficiently run the service after construction is complete. Examples of the powers being sought include – dealing with bad behaviour, working with the police, the ability to issue tickets and levy penalty fares, and prevention relating to bringing dangerous items onto the DART.

Any objections to, or other representations about, the proposals in the application should be sent to:

Secretary of State for Transport
c/o Transport Infrastructure Planning Unit
Department for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
London SW1P 4DR

Or by email to [email protected].

An objection or other representation MUST (i) be received by the Secretary of State on or before 14 August 2020, (ii) be made in writing (whether sent by post or e-mail), (iii) state the grounds of the objection or other representation, (iv) indicate who is making the objection or other representation, and (v) give an address to which correspondence relating to the objection or other representation may be sent. (If you are sending your objection or other representation by e-mail, please provide a postal address.)

The Secretary of State may make complete copies of the objections and other representations public, including any personal information contained in them, and will copy them to the applicant for the Order.

Story so far

Work on the Luton DART will be completed in 2021. 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
  • Autumn 2020: train installation
  • Autumn 2021: 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 are being 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 will be created across a range of disciplines. Lead contractor VFK has committed to delivering a number of social value benefits, and Luton Council is delighted to have secured £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 will show 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

The project, now open runs until March 2020 and offers local people the opportunity to be trained in a variety of construction skills. It will provide local and regional employers with access to trained potential employees. Focus will be on training up those from underrepresented groups and so far the scheme has received referrals from the Council’s Passport to Employment programme, Noah, Luton Youth Offending Service and Avenue Centre for Education.

The scheme runs a 5 day programme, which includes training in Level 1 Health and Safety Awareness, Manual Handling/Working at Height or Fire Warden, Careers in construction and Emergency First Aid. All trainees also have the opportunity to take their Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) test at the end of the 5 day course.

If you are interested in enrolling, please email [email protected]

Luton logocitb


Over the course of the DART project, approximately 500 jobs will be created in a range of disciplines. Come back here to see details of current opportunities.


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

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

Meet the buyer

Construction of the Luton DART is providing 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. Meet the buyer event in June 2018.

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 and about some of the many good outcomes 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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