Stansted plans to start discussions with government in a couple of years about a 2nd runway
Not to be outdone by the hopes of Heathrow and Gatwick to get another runway, Stansted is getting in on the act, and saying they will be wanting a runway in due course too. Stansted was not assessed by the Airports Commission, as Stansted had no need of a new runway, being far below capacity. The Airports Commission partly understood that, to even try to keep within the carbon cap for aviation of 37.5MtCO2 by 2050, the addition of one runway would be difficult [it risks UK carbon targets] but it still suggested that by 2040, even if building a runway by 2030, another would be “needed.” Stansted has said in the past that it would like a 2nd runway some time after 2035. Its owners, MAG, are now saying that it will “need” another runway earlier than that. Though they appreciate that there is likely to be a dip in demand for air travel for several years, due to Brexit, they are still keen on adding a runway. MAG’s CEO Charlie Cornish has told the Times: “We will be at capacity some time between 2025 and 2030, so in the next two to three years we will need to start having the appropriate dialogue with the government over the need for a second runway [at Stansted].” MAG repeatedly says the existing runway capacity at Stansted must be fully utilised, including improving its rail links.
Stansted has sights on second runway
By Robert Lea, Industrial Editor (The Times)
July 14 2016
Two of Britain’s busiest airports [Manchester and Stansted] expect to suffer a Brexit-related slowdown in growth over the next couple of years, but their owner argues that one of them will still be so congested by 2030 that it will need a new runway. [Manchester already has a 2nd runway, which is scarcely used as there is not enough demand for it at present].
Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, the owner of Manchester and Stansted airports, said that the post-EU referendum devaluation of the pound and the expected slump in GDP growth would hit operations.
“Airlines tend to grow in step with GDP,” Mr Cornish said. “Sterling versus dollar will have an impact on passenger numbers because the money you have will not go as far and that will translate into an impact on demand.”
He said that a British withdrawal from the European Union would not in itself affect the group, but the impact on the exchange rate and the slowing economy would. “We will see a blip for between 12 and 24 months,” he said. “We’ll continue to grow but behind where we had expected to be.”
Stansted, London’s third airport, has rapidly accelerated out of the global financial crisis, during which it lost a third of its passenger numbers. Its mixture of sunseeking and short-break holidaymakers and its attraction to business people for flights to continental capitals means that it is particularly exposed to economic vacillations.
During the recession its woes were exacerbated by Ryanair, its main airline tenant, being in dispute with its former owner, Heathrow Airport Holdings, formerly BAA. Manchester Airports Group bought Stansted for £1.5 billion in 2013. In the 12 months to the end of MAG’s March financial year, Stansted passenger numbers grew 11 per cent to 23 million. That puts Stansted on course this year to overtake Manchester as Britain’s third largest airport.
“We will be at capacity some time between 2025 and 2030, so in the next two to three years we will need to start having the appropriate dialogue with the government over the need for a second runway [at Stansted],” Mr Cornish said.
He was speaking as MAG reported a 21 per cent surge in underlying operating profits to £186 million on revenues of £778 million, 5 per cent higher, much of that due to Stansted’s recovery.
• Luton airport said that 1.4 million passengers went through its terminal in June, up 17 per cent. Birmingham reported a record-breaking 1.1 million passengers during the month.
MAG’s full year results, 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016
said (no mention of another runway)
- Stansted is now handling 5.7m more passengers per year than when MAG acquired the airport in early 2013, an increase of 32.6%. The airport still has spare runway capacity and is well-placed to meet future growth in London’s aviation demand, prior to any new runway being built.
London Stansted remains the UK’s fastest growing airport in terms of passenger volumes and has played a key role in providing runway capacity in the South East as other airports fill up. Manchester Airport, meanwhile, has seen a record breaking year. August was the busiest month in the airport’s 77 year history and its success has driven up aviation income across the Group by 2.3% to £387.4m.
MAG notes another year of delay in deciding where a new runway should be built in the South East. MAG believes that this decision should be dictated by competitive market forces rather than Government, and that it is vital that existing runway capacity at Manchester and London Stansted is fully utilised, including improving rail links to Stansted and encouraging new long haul connectivity across the country.
Stansted Airport owner pushes case for second runway
Expanding the Essex airport will become a priority if it continues to grow at current rates, the boss of Manchester Airports Group said
The case to expand London Stansted has been strengthened after the business behind the Essex airport posted a surge in revenues and profits, according to the company’s chief executive.
A 5.7pc rise in passenger numbers across its airports to a record 29.7m helped to send first-half revenues at Manchester Airports Group (MAG) by the same proportion to £445.5m and operating profits 16.5pc higher to £137m. The strongest growth at the company, which also owns Bournemouth and East Midlands airports, was at Stansted, where passengers swelled by 10.6pc to 12.5m in the six months to the end of September.
The debate over how best to avert the impending aviation capacity crisis in the south east has so far centred on the choice between new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick. The Prime Minister is expected to announce within days whether Heathrow is allowed to build a third landing-strip, after the Government-appointed Airports Commission recommended in July that the west London hub should be expanded.
However, Charlie Cornish, the boss of MAG, said that expanding Stansted, including the possibility of a second runway, will also become a more pressing issue if the Essex airport keeps up its current growth rate.
“The Airports Commission did say Stansted could be an option for a second runway around about 2040,” Mr Cornish said. “We think it’s probably 15 to 20 years earlier than that, given our forecasts relative to the Commission’s forecasts.”
A planning cap limits Stansted to 35m passengers a year, which Mr Cornish said would “easily” be reached in the next decade.
If the limit were to be lifted, Stansted could carry up to 45m passengers per annum on a single runway, but further growth would require a second landing strip. The MAG boss conceded that Stansted still needed to make the economic case for another runway first, however.
“Stansted’s got a way to go in terms of demonstrating that it can cater for not just very strong low-cost airlines but equally legacy, full-service carriers,” he said. “Over the next five years we’re expecting to bring a richer mix of airlines.”
The introduction of 31 new routes have driven growth at MAG during the first-half, including flights from Manchester to Boston and Stansted to Los Angeles. At Manchester, passengers were up 4.5pc to 13.8m. They were flat at 500,000 at Bournemouth and fell 6.5pc to 2.9m at East Midlands after troubled airline Monarch scrapped its flights from the airport.