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Stansted submits plans to raise passenger cap

Words: Laura Edgar
Stansted departure lounge / Stansted Airport

London Stansted Airport has submitted to Uttlesford District Council a planning application seeking to raise the current cap on passengers by eight million a year.

The application, according to the airport, seeks to make “the best use” of its single runway over the next 10 years, as it looks to create 5,000 new on-site jobs, improve passenger choice and convenience, and boost international long-haul flights to China, India and the United States of America.

Following consultation with local communities, plans would see the restriction on annual passenger numbers rise from 35 million to 43 million.

According to the application, the next generation of quieter aircraft will ensure that passenger growth won’t see the number of flights increase or result in a worse noise footprint.

Since Manchester Airports Group (MAG) took over at the airport five years ago, passenger numbers have increased by 10 million to 26 million a year. MAG said the growth comes from a 25 per cent increase in destinations served by the airport and twice the number of airlines use the airport (22).

Stansted anticipates that the cap of 35 million passengers a year will be reached by the early 2020s. To provide long-term clarity for airlines wanting to use the facilities, it says now is “the right time” to consider the framework for growth beyond the current limit.

Ken O’ Toole, CEO of London Stansted, said: “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.”

The application requests permission for additional airfield infrastructure within the current airfield boundary, including two new links to the runway.

Support for the plans has been expressed by James Palmer, Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, the Harlow Enterprise Zone, and the Haven Gateway Partnership.

Work is continuing on the second phase of work to transform the facilities at Stansted Airport – a five-year construction programme worth £600 million to deliver a new arrivals building and convert the existing terminal into a dedicated departure facility. The first phase saw £150 million spent “improving the passenger experience”.

The application can be found here on the Uttlesford District Council website.

Image credit | Stansted Airport