Multi-million pound plans have been revealed to extend the terminal at Southend airport.

The aim is to offer “greatly improved” facilities for passengers while enabling the airport to meet new aviation regulations.

The project has two elements.

• An extension to the southern end of terminal building housing new baggage sorting and screening systems. This will enable new equipment to be installed, ensuring the airport meets the forthcoming European Hold Baggage Security Screening Standard, which comes into force on September 1, 2018.

• An extension to the northern end of the terminal improving baggage reclaim facilities. The existing arrivals baggage area will be replaced with a new spacious area offering improved and more flexible reclaim facilities for arriving passengers.

Both extensions are single storey and have been sensitively designed in keeping with the existing terminal building, the airport claimed.

If planning permission is granted, then construction is expected to start in early 2018.

This will allow both sections to be open before the summer peak, minimising any passenger disruption, and ensuring the departures baggage sorting and screening system is fully operational ahead of the September deadline.

Glyn Jones, chief executive of Stobart Aviation, owner of Southend airport, said: “We currently serve over one million passengers a year and more and more people are realising that London Southend offers them a better way to travel.

“This development is all about ensuring we maintain the highest levels of customer experience and ensuring we are able to comply with new regulations.”

He added: “The airport was designed to deliver the best possible passenger experience, this extension ensures that we can continue doing just that as we grow.”