London Stansted has today submitted a planning application to Uttlesford District Council to raise the current cap on the number of passengers it is permitted to serve from 35 million passengers per annum (mppa) to 43mppa, while committing to remain within current approved limits on aircraft noise and flight numbers. The application has been shaped by an extensive consultation between the airport and local communities.
The application seeks permission to make best use of the airport’s existing single runway over the next decade, a move which will deliver significant economic benefits to the UK and the vibrant East of England region, create 5,000 new on-site jobs, improve passenger choice and convenience and boost international long-haul routes to fast-growing markets like China, India and the US. The application will also ease pressure on the London airport system by unlocking additional capacity at a time when other airports are full.
Detailed analysis included in the planning application demonstrates how the ongoing introduction of the next generation of new quieter aircraft will ensure that future passenger growth can be achieved without increasing the number of flights or noise footprint already permitted. For example, the new Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320 Neo aircraft currently being brought into service by Ryanair and easyJet are up to 50% quieter than the aircraft they are replacing.
In the five years since MAG acquired Stansted, annual passenger numbers have increased by nearly 10 million to 26mppa. This growth has been delivered through a 25% increase in destinations served by the airport (190) and a doubling of the number of airlines using the airport (22). Stansted is the best-connected UK airport for flights to Europe and during 2018 will see a rapid expansion of its long-haul route network with services being added to New York, Boston, Toronto, Washington DC and Dubai and the 150 onward destinations it offers.
Stansted now anticipates reaching its current cap of 35mppa by the early 2020s and in order for the airport to build on its momentum and provide long term clarity to airlines wanting to use its facilities, now is the right time to consider the framework for its growth beyond the current limit.
MAG has also invested heavily in the facilities at Stansted Airport, spending £150m on improving the passenger experience. Recently, work began on the second phase of Stansted’s transformation – a five-year, £600 million construction programme that will see a new arrivals building and conversion of the existing terminal into a dedicated departing passenger-only facility.
Stansted has committed to ensuring that its growth provides long term benefits for its local communities and an on-site educational facility, the Aerozone, has already welcomed nearly 10,000 young people in the two years since it opened. Later this year, an £11 million on-site further education college will also open and provide hundreds of students with a host of skills relevant for careers in the aviation, engineering, and hospitality industries.
Ken O’Toole, CEO of London Stansted Airport, said: “Today, London Stansted Airport is virtually unrecognisable from the one which MAG acquired almost five years ago to the day. During this time, we have spent £150m on upgrading the terminal, added nearly 10 million passengers, more than doubled the number of airlines and developed a short-haul route network which is the best in Europe.
“Looking to the future, demand at Stansted is predicted to remain strong and with constraints on runway capacity in the South-East increasing, we are expecting to reach our current limit on passenger numbers in the early 2020s. We are now at the point where it is right to consider the framework for the airport’s growth beyond the current limit.
“From day one, we have been guided by a belief that when our business prospers, the regions and communities in which we operate also prosper and I am proud of the fact that we have managed to deliver our growth in a phased way and worked hard to closely involve our local communities in this journey.
“Over the past six months we have consulted widely on our future growth plans and based on the feedback from these discussions, we’ve made sure our growth can be achieved within current limits on flight numbers and with no increase in the size of the airport’s noise footprint. This is good news for local residents.
“In addition, thousands more local jobs will be created and our long-haul connectivity to fast-growing markets like China, USA, India will receive a real boost. The recent announcement by Emirates that it will begin daily services to Dubai, in addition to Primera Air launching flights to New York, Boston, Washington and Toronto this year, is a clear statement of what the airport can achieve and we are talking to a range of airlines who are looking to grow their operations at Stansted.
“It is vital for the region that Stansted is able to build on its momentum and the long-term proposals that we have outlined today will enable us to do this and more importantly, provide the local community with confidence that future growth can be delivered in a measured and sustainable way.”
The application will also seek permission for additional airfield infrastructure within the current airfield boundary, comprising two new links to the runway, six additional stands on the mid airfield and three additional stands at the north eastern end of the Airport.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s Chief Executive, said:
“London Stansted Airport continues to grow strongly under the ownership of MAG, where Ryanair’s traffic has grown from 13.2m customers in 2013 to over 21m this year with over 140 routes. Stansted’s potential and spare capacity remains untapped so it’s vital to make best and efficient use of the existing infrastructure to provide more growth opportunities and greater value for consumers at a time when runway capacity is more constrained in the south-east of England, and in light of the challenges Brexit may bring.”
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said:
“Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is one of the most economically dynamic parts of the country and it clearly requires an international airport nearby with the space to grow and ability to connect to important global markets. I was delighted to be at the announcement of Stansted’s new services to New York and Boston last year. It’s clear to me that Stansted’s success needs to be built on – and quickly”.
Denise Rossiter, Chief Executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce, said:
“Essex’s economy is still growing and we know businesses are looking to trade more overseas, which will be especially important as we leave the EU. Stansted is a jewel in the County’s crown with plenty of potential to serve new global destinations and we should be looking to make full and efficient use of its runway.”
Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executive of London First, said:
“Our airports are critical in securing the UK’s position as a global trading hub and we need an aviation policy that supports growth and opens up connections to the rest of the world. The planning cap currently imposed on Stansted prevents the airport from making full use of its runway and limits the economic contribution it could be making. With our airports filling up fast, and a decade until we have a new runway at Heathrow, it’s time to lift the cap at Stansted.”
Dr John Keddie, Chairman, Harlow Enterprise Zone, said:
“Stansted Airport is a vital part of the infrastructure to support the growing local economy and the Harlow Enterprise Zone is fully supportive of the airport’s growth plans. The Harlow Enterprise Zone is home to major international companies such as Arrow Electronics, Raytheon and Pearson and our development of the new 27 acre Harlow Science Park, located just 15 minutes from Stansted will bring many more businesses and jobs to the area. We look forward to continuing to work with the airport to promote this as a location for international business attracted by the growing choice of destinations and the facilities.”
George Kieffer, Chairman, Haven Gateway Partnership, said:
“London Stansted Airport is a vital asset for the East of England, supporting the fast-growing economies of Cambridge, Essex and Suffolk as well as Hertfordshire. The expansion plans and new routes announced provide vital international connectivity for the businesses in the East.”