A few days ago, UK2000 released EGMC, or London Southend airport. At this point UK2000 is a well recognized name among flight simmers, and have consistently created high-quality UK airports. Southend is no exception.
London Southend Airport is a smaller airport located east of the city of London, in Essex. The airport has a single runway, 6/24, which measures about 6,000 feet long. The airport does see commercial service and is an operating base for Easyjet. Flybe and Volotea are among the other carriers at the airport.
Installing Southend is very simple. The installer is very small, only about 40 MB big. However, you will need the UK2000 library, which is about a 60 MB download. That won’t be an issue if you already have UK2000 scenery installed, though. The installer is no different from other UK2000 airports either. Put in your keycode, select your folders, and install. Afterward you’ll be greeted by a configuration tool that has the usual UK2000 options, for static aircraft, animated traffic, extra detail, and more cars. P3D users have a box to tick for default runway lights and there is also the usual vehicle speed option. Southend cost me (in the US, prices seem to vary) $24. I think it’s a few dollars too pricy, but I think that simply because it’s not a very big airport. The airport is very well done regardless of pricing and plenty of people will find the investment worthwhile. More on that later.
The manual is brief and to the point. It contains installation and uninstallation instructions, a sort section on airport information, recommended settings, and known issues. Also contained are several scenery screenshots.
During the daytime, the airport looks very good. The models seem to have a fairly low poly count, which helps with optimization although a small amount of visual quality is sacrificed. The texturing is still very good, and has always been one of my favorite parts about UK2000 airports. I also like that the option to add static airliners and GA aircraft is included. I’m a fan of having static airliner models at gates, as I’m not an AI traffic user, and airports of this size are typically not very populated by other people on VATSIM. Basically, it gives them a bit of life where there otherwise wouldn’t be in my case.
Not much around the airport is enhanced. There’s a bit of photoscenery, and a few buildings seem to be custom-made.
The night lighting is one of my favorite parts about Southend. The brightness of the lighting is a good level that isn’t an eyesore. The ramps also remain well illuminated and the runway/taxiway lighting is quite nice looking too.
Ah, everyone’s favorite question. While I’ve moved onto P3Dv3, those using FSX and P3Dv2 should have no trouble with VAS or framerate. In the Aerosoft A319, I had more than 2 gigabytes of VAS remaining and was getting a steady 40+ frames in the VC. For the detail of the airport, the performance is incredible. If you’re not using P3Dv3, you should be able to get away with running FTX England so long as you don’t have your other London-area airports enabled as the 5 or so that are available will quickly cause your sim to OOM.
Who is this airport for?
Southend is a bit of a niche purchase in my opinion. There are several other London area airports (several of which are made by UK2000) available that have more destinations available and a wider choice of airlines. But, it’s a worthwhile purchase if you’re looking to round out your collection of London airports, or if you want a GA destination near London. You may also enjoy the airport if you’re a big fan of Easyjet, too, as it is one of their bases.
Southend is yet another great airport by UK2000. The level of detail is very good, as is the night lighting. You may getting into and out of the airport a bit challenging as the runway is on the shorter side. It’s definitely worth a pickup if you fall underneath one of the categories I listed above.
Review by Daniel Everman