Stansted long-haul flights could quadruple as airlines decide against waiting for slots at Heathrow
Stansted is planning to quadruple the number of long-haul flights it offers, as delays and uncertainty continue on whether there will be a Heathrow’s 3rd runway. Stansted, as London’s 3rd largest airport, is already expanding the number of long-haul services it offers, as it begins to shift away from being a traditional hub for short-haul tourist flights. Fly Emirates will start a daily service from the airport to Dubai next week, and Primera air has also announced four new transatlantic routes from Stansted to New York, Boston, Toronto and Washington that will start this year. Stansted wants others too and its Chief Executive Ken O’Toole said that up to 25 long-haul routes had been earmarked that eventually might take the total to 33 direct long-haul destinations. It is building a new £130 million arrivals terminal, which will be complete in 2021. It is also applying to Uttlesford district council to lift the existing cap on passenger numbers from 35 million to 43 million per year – about the same size as Gatwick. Stansted airport, owned by Manchester Airports Group, believes that airlines were being attracted to Stansted due to becoming frustrated with constraints at both Heathrow and Gatwick.
Stansted long-haul flights could quadruple as Heathrow debates third runway
The airport plans a major increase in long-haul flights as it builds its new arrivals terminal
By Oliver MacKenzie
28 MAY 2018
Stansted Airport is planning to quadruple the number of long-haul flights it offers as delays continue on Heathrow’s third runway construction.
London’s third airport is already expanding the number of long-haul services it offers, as it begins to shift away from being a traditional hub for short-haul tourist flights.
Fly Emirates will start a daily service from the airport to Dubai next week, and Primera air has also announced four new transatlantic routes from Stansted to New York, Boston, Toronto and Washington that will start this year.
However, Stansted hopes that this will be the tip of the iceberg of the number of lon-haul flights it will provide. The Airport’s Chief Executive Ken O’Toole said that up to 25 long-haul routes had been earmarked that eventually would take the total to 33 direct long-haul destinations.
Mr O’Toole also confirmed he was in advanced talks with other airlines both budget and full-service, to create new flights to North America, The Middle East and Eastern Asia.
Why Stansted is expanding its long-haul flight offerings
Stansted has held ambitions of being much more than just a hub for tourists for a number of years now.
Whilst delays and debate continue on Heathrow’s potential third runway and a rail link to create a “Heath-wick” joint hub, London’s third airport hopes it can steal a march on its two biggest competitors.
Key to these plans was securing a new £130 million arrivals terminal, which will be complete in 2021.
Now the airport is applying to Uttlesford district council to lift the existing cap on passenger numbers from 35 million to 43 million a year.
London Stansted Airport is the third largest in London (4th in UK) serving over 24 million passengers a year.
If they are successful with their appeal, and can charter enough flights to run passenger numbers up to the cap, Stansted could become London’s second biggest airport over Gatwick, and third biggest in the county.
The Airport, which is owned by Manchester Airports Group, believes that airlines were being attracted to Stansted due to becoming frustrated with constraints at both Heathrow and Gatwick.
This is not the only expansion the group is working on however, as it also has big ambitions for Manchester Airport to become the UK’s second biggest airport behind Heathrow, as once its £1billion upgrade is complete, the airport could carry 50 million passengers per year.
Heathrow insists that flights can be operational from the new runway by the end of 2025, but Mr O’Toole predicted that expansion would be 10 to 15 years away because of legal challenges.
“Airlines are recognising that London as a market is constrained,” he said. “We see Stansted, for a number of reasons, playing a much bigger role.”
He said that the “biggest driver of aviation growth” was still going to be “short-haul, point-to-point traffic”. Stansted is Ryanair’s biggest British base.
However, speaking to The Times, he said: “I think there are 20 to 25 long-haul routes that will be delivered from Stansted primarily because people don’t want to commit to three hours driving around the M25 to reach Heathrow or Gatwick.”
tansted Airport expansion plans will ‘ambush local communities and residents,’ according to Uttlesford Liberal Democrats
Uttlesford Liberal Democrats say that Stansted Airport is seeking to ‘ambush local communities and residents’ with its plans to become the UK’s 2nd biggest airport. They say the submitted planning application is “unravelling under the pressure of public scrutiny” and Stansted is not being ‘open’ with local residents. Thaxted Councillor Martin Foley said public opinion is not being taken into account, nor is there enough consideration in regards to the additional traffic following the expansion, branding plans too “simplistic”. The airport is “not being open and transparent in their application to expand its capacity to 43+ million passengers per annum.” …“Firstly, they have buried their demand for the removal of current restrictions on night flights at Stansted in an appendix to their main application.” Public consultation events have not been properly promoted, and the airport’s “assessment of the impact of the additional traffic generated by the expansion is simplistic and rudimentary.” Implausibly, the airport’s CEO tries to make out there will be a lower noise impact, even with 8 million more annual passengers (35 million up to 43 million).
Stop Stansted Expansion raises night flights and ‘noise nightmare’ concerns over airport’s expansion plans
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) says the airport wants to change conditions which have prevented it from lobbying government for more night flights. The plans were “buried” within its planning application to expand its annual throughput of passengers from 35 million to up to 43m. It claimed it was “a clandestine attempt to betray the community”, as it raised concerns about sleep disturbance and adverse health impacts caused by night flights. “For years SSE has been calling for tougher controls to bear down on the impacts night flights have on sleep disturbance and the quality of life and wellbeing of people across the region,” said SSE noise adviser Martin Peachey. “Stansted is already allowed more than twice as many night flights as Heathrow, and night flights are set to be completely banned at Heathrow within the next 10 years as a condition of expansion.” The airport says it is not seeking any change to current night flight limits, as the limit is already set above current usage. SSE are also concerned that the long haul and freight aircraft which airport owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is hoping to attract to Stansted are “typically larger and noisier than most aircraft types currently based there” and with less stringent night noise controls, these could become a serious noise problem for local residents.
Stop Stansted Expansion asks Government to call in the airport’s expansion plans, or face a JR
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) have written a 36-page letter to the Secretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajiv Javid MP, asking formally for call-in of the application by Stansted for expansion. They include District Council incompetence, bias and a series of statutory planning grounds, as reasons why the airport’s expansion plans should be determined nationally – rather than locally by Uttlesford District Council (UDC). SSE has also made clear that refusal by the Secretary of State to call-in the application will trigger an application for Judicial Review in the High Court. SSE is concerned that UDC has taken a blinkered approach to the rules for considering the application in its desire to do the airport’s bidding. UDC sees potential gain for itself, even though the planned expansion would be at the expense of not only the Uttlesford villages and market towns it is meant to serve, but communities further afield in Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. SSE’s barrister, a planning expert Paul Stinchcombe QC of 39 Essex Chambers has identified that UDC has erred in law in its interpretation of the rules by not recognising the application as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. If the Stansted application was approved, it would mean a 66% increase in passengers and a 44% increase in flights compared to 2017.
Stop Stansted Expansion critical of airport expansion application, bypassing local authority scrutiny
Stansted Airport has applied to increase the current cap on annual passenger numbers from 35 million to 43 million passengers, in what campaigners say is a ‘sweetheart’ deal with local planning authorities to avoid government scrutiny. The application to Uttlesford District Council (UDC) seeks permission to increase the use of its single runway over the next 10 years. However, the Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) group said the application was misleading in claiming that further expansion of the airport would have no significant environmental impacts. SSE said it was “profoundly concerned at the lengths Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is prepared to go to to avoid scrutiny by secretary of State by amending passenger numbers” as they are trying to keep the expansion to 8 million, rather than 10 million, passengers – avoiding the application being dealt with as a major infrastructure project. SSE said it understands that in return for local planning approval from the district council, MAG might make financial contributions to help fund local road schemes and other local projects in the delivery of the local plan. SSE said: “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that a 44% increase in the number of flights and a 66% increase in the number of passengers means a lot more noise, a lot more pollution and a lot more traffic on our already congested local roads.”