AIRPORT bosses have defended the number of flights waiting for take-off with engines revving, just metres from people’s homes.

Southend Airport faced a backlash from residents in Wells Avenue over the use of the Charlie Taxiway, which sees planes travel from the terminal to the runway.

At its closest point, the taxiway is 40 metres away from residents’ gardens.

They have complained that it like “living on a runway” and that their privacy has been erased and they battle constant noise pollution.

But Glyn Jones, CEO of Stobart Aviation, says the firm has listened to residents on multiple occasions and tried to offer solutions.

He said: “The average taxi time from the stand to runway is three minutes.

“We have nine aeroplanes based here. They launch in the first hour – that’s the busiest that it gets. The longest hold was less than ten minutes.

“We changed the holding point so that the aeroplanes are holding behind the hangar instead of near the houses.

“There is a risk to that in that it’s delayed to the runway. It’s a small risk, and doesn’t happen very often.

“That taxiway has always been used and will be used because you have to get to the runway.

“Even if you double the amount of planes going there, it’s not that big a number.

“We sat down with them several times – once a quarter – and asked them what they want us to do.

“Do you want us to build an acoustic sound barrier? ‘No’ – I don’t blame them, I wouldn’t want a big fence in front of my house.

“They’ve asked us to do things we can’t practically do – build a parallel taxiway the full length of the runway to the north – the problem with that is you got to knock a church down to do it, a Norman church Grade one listed – you can’t do that.

“It would also cost a large amount of money to no benefit. Maybe worst of all – every aircraft would have to cross the runway to get to it.”

Concerns have also been raised about the number of night flights from the airport for a logistics company, which is believed to be Amazon.

It has three that fly out at 1am, 3am and 5am, but the airport has the capacity for another.

Mr Jones has ruled out any further flights at night.

He said: “You can’t help but be sympathetic, but the fact is when we negotiated the planning consent there was a number of controls that come with it.

“They reduced the number of available night movements from more than 900 to 120. It’s a very small number compared to other airports.

“Last year we averaged about 7,600, two-and-a-half-a-day. It’s gone up by about one-a-week, it’s not gone up very much.

“On the debit side you have got the global logistics customer, three movements a night, but its not every night, on bank holidays they don’t operate.

“On the credit side I took the decision to say to our private jet centre no more night flights.

“It’s a very small change numerically, and we’re well within the quota from the Government.”