London Stansted Airport facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
London Stansted Airport
|Owner/Operator||Manchester Airport Holdings|
|Serves||Greater London, Western Essex and Cambridgeshire|
|Location||Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, England, UK|
|Focus city for||
|Elevation AMSL||348 ft / 106 m|
London Stansted serves over 160 destinations across Europe, Asia and Africa. Stansted is a base for a number of major European low-cost carriers, being the largest base for low-cost airline Ryanair, with over 100 destinations served by the airline. In 2015, it was the fourth-busiest airport in the United Kingdom after Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester. Stansted's runway is also used by private companies such as the Harrods Aviation, Titan Airways, and XJet terminals, which are private ground handlers that are able to handle private flights, charter flights, and state visits.
Converted to civil use from RAF Stansted Mountfitchet in the late 1940s, Stansted was used by charter airlines. It came under British Airports Authority control in 1966. The privatised BAA sold Stansted in February 2013 to Manchester Airports Group as a result of a March 2009 ruling by the Competition Commission against BAA's monopoly position.
- Proposed developments
- Airlines and destinations
- Ground transport
- Incidents and accidents
- Images for kids
- See also
London Stansted Airport has one main passenger terminal, near the village of Stansted Mountfitchet. There are three passenger satellites in which the departure gates are situated; one is connected to the main terminal by an air-bridge and the other two by the Stansted Airport Transit System people mover.
The terminal building was designed by Foster Associates with input from the structural engineer Peter Rice, and features a "floating" roof, supported by a space frame of inverted-pyramid roof trusses, creating the impression of a stylised swan in flight. The base of each truss structure is a "utility pillar", which provides indirect uplighting illumination and is the location for air-conditioning, water, telecommunications and electrical outlets. The layout of the airport was designed to provide an unobstructed flow for passengers to arrive at the short-stay car park, move through the check-in hall, go through security and on to the departure gates all on the same level.
From 1997 to 2007, Stansted saw rapid expansion of passenger numbers on the back of the boom in low cost air travel, peaking at 24 million passengers in the 12 months to October 2007, but passenger numbers declined in the next five years to 2012. Passenger totals have since risen, and in 2016 recorded an annual increase of 8.0% to 24.3 million, a record calendar year total.
Second World War
The airfield opened in 1943 and was used during the Second World War as RAF Stansted Mountfitchet by the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces as a bomber airfield and as a major maintenance depot. Although the official name was Stansted Mountfitchet, the base was known as simply Stansted in both written and spoken form.
The station was first allocated to the USAAF Eighth Air Force in August 1942 as a heavy bomber airfield. As well as an operational bomber base, Stansted was also a Air Technical Services Command (ATSC) maintenance and supply depot concerned with major overhauls and modification of B-26s. After D-Day, these activities were transferred to France, but the base was still used as a supply storage area for the support of aircraft on the continent.
After the withdrawal of the Americans on 12 August 1945, Stansted was taken over by the Air Ministry and used by No. 263 Maintenance Unit, RAF for storage purposes. In addition, between March 1946 and August 1947, Stansted was used for housing German prisoners of war.
In November 1946, the recently established British cargo airline, London Aero and Motor Services (LAMS), equipped with ex-RAF Handley Page Halifaxes, moved into Stansted, using it as a base for its operations, until it was wound up in July 1948.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation finally took control of Stansted in 1949 and the airport was then used as a base by several UK charter airlines. The US military returned in 1954 to extend the runway for a possible transfer to NATO. The transfer to NATO was never realised, however, and the airport continued in civil use, ending up under BAA control in 1966.
During the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s the Fire Service Training School (FSTS) was based on the eastern side of the airfield under the auspices of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, now the Civil Aviation Authority. The school was responsible for the training of all aviation fire crews for British airfields as well as those of many overseas countries.
Beginning in 1966, after Stansted was placed under BAA control, the airport was used by holiday charter operators wishing to escape the higher costs associated with operating from Heathrow and Gatwick.
In 1968–71 the Commission for the Third London Airport (the "Roskill Commission") did not include Stansted as one of its four short-listed sites and recommended that Cublington in Buckinghamshire should be developed as London's third airport.
From the outset, however, BAA and the British government planned to develop Stansted into London's third airport,
Since 1984 the airport's capacity had been limited to a maximum throughput of 25 million passengers per annum (25 mppa) in accordance with recommendations made by the 1984 public inquiry and confirmed by the government of the day.
In 1984, the government approved a plan to develop Stansted in two phases, involving both airfield and terminal improvements that would increase the airport's capacity to 15 million passengers per year. The current terminal building was designed by architect Norman Foster. Construction was undertaken by John Laing and took place between 1988 and March 1991, costing £100 million. In 1990 it was awarded the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture / Mies van der Rohe Award.
Long-haul scheduled services commenced in the early 1990s when American Airlines operated a transatlantic service between Stansted and Chicago, however the route was unprofitable and was withdrawn in 1993. Continental Airlines also operated services in the late 1990s from Newark, but this service was stopped shortly after the 11 September 2001 attacks.
Long-haul services to the USA returned in late 2005, when Eos Airlines and MAXjet Airways commenced all-business-class services from Stansted to New York–JFK Airport. In 2006, MAXjet expanded their service with flights to Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and Los Angeles. American Airlines began daily flights to Stansted in October 2007 from New York–JFK and was originally expected to operate a second daily flight from April 2008. However, all three services to the USA have since been discontinued following the demise of MAXjet Airways in December 2007 and Eos Airlines in April 2008. Finally, in July 2008 American Airlines withdrew from the airport.
Long haul transatlantic operations made a return to Stansted in June 2010, when Sun Country Airlines announced a seasonal weekly service from Stansted to Minneapolis. The flights made a re-fuelling stop-over in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador as the aircraft used for the flight, a Boeing 737-800, would not be able to complete a non-stop westbound flight from Stansted to Minneapolis. The flights operated from 11 June to 15 August 2010. In 2011, Sun Country operated to Gatwick rather than Stansted and were then discontinued due to the price involved in carrying fuel on long haul flights.
Stansted also had scheduled and charter flights to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, but these flights to Canada have now ceased. Long-haul services to Asia commenced in March 2009 with Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia X providing direct flights to Kuala Lumpur; however, since 24 October 2011, these flights have operated from Gatwick Airport instead.
A major expansion programme to the existing terminal took place between 2007 and 2009, adding nearly 5,900 m2 (64,000 sq ft) of floorspace to give space for additional baggage carousels, a new immigration and passport control hall and a hypostyle arrivals hall with improved facilities.
In November 2006, Uttlesford District Council rejected a BAA planning application to increase the permitted number of aircraft movements and to remove the limit on passenger numbers. BAA immediately appealed against the decision and a public inquiry opened lasting from May until October 2007. Planning Inspector Alan Boyland made his recommendations in January 2008. Those recommendations were largely followed by the Secretary of State for Transport (Geoff Hoon) and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Hazel Blears), who jointly allowed the applicant's appeal in October 2008. A series of legal challenges by community campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) were rejected by the High Court during 2009.
In 2008, 57 people were arrested after Plane Stupid, the environmental activist group, broke through the barriers and created a 'stockade' on a taxiway which resulted in 52 flights being cancelled.
The Competition Commission ruled in March 2009 that BAA should sell Gatwick and Stansted Airports within two years. The ruling was quashed within a year following an appeal but was subsequently upheld. The Competition Commission reconfirmed its ruling in July 2011 that the airport be sold, and the Court of Appeal turned down an appeal by BAA on 26 July 2012. In light of the result, BAA chose not to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and confirmed on 20 August 2012 that the airport would be sold.
Abandoned plans for a second runway
On 11 March 2008, BAA submitted a planning application (titled "G2") to expand the airport by 3 sq mi (8 km2) and for the construction of a second runway and terminal, etc., in line with a recommendation in the 2003 Air Transport White Paper (ATWP). This would have been the subject of a public inquiry and, if approved, would have allowed Stansted to handle more passengers than Heathrow did at the time of the application.
In May 2010 BAA withdrew its plans to build a second runway at Stansted and withdrew the plans to build a new runway at Heathrow.
The ATWP had anticipated that a second runway would be operational by 2011, but this date continued to slip. BAA's 2008 planning application envisaged operation commencing in 2015, and in 2009, BAA revised the anticipated opening date to 2017.
Prior to the United Kingdom's May 2010 general election, all three major political parties pledged not to approve a second runway. Soon after the election, the new government confirmed this, and BAA withdrew its application for planning permission, having spent nearly £200 million preparing for the public inquiry and buying up properties.
The public inquiry into BAA's second runway application had been scheduled to start on 15 April 2009, but the start was delayed by Secretary of State Hazel Blears to allow time for BAA and the Government to consider the implications of the March 2009 Competition Commission's ruling that BAA must sell Stansted within two years. As 2011 drew to a close, BAA was still appealing against the Competition Commission ruling. On 20 August 2012, after losing a case at the Court of Appeal, BAA agreed to cease challenging the Competition Commission's ruling and to sell Stansted.
On 10 February 2010, Secretary of State John Denham, in an open letter, concluded that the inquiry could not reasonably start until after the General Election. In addition, he commented that the planning application documents were nearly two years old and would require updating. Eventually, BAA realised the futility of pursuing its G2 application in the context of the new government policy and withdrew it on 24 May 2010.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE)
The advocacy group Stop Stansted Expansion ("SSE"), formed in 2002 as a working group of the North West Essex and East Herts Preservation Association, in response to the Government's consultation on expanding UK airports and, particularly, expansion plans for Stansted Airport subsequently defined in the Air Transport White Paper in December 2003.
It still actively campaigns against what its members see as the unsustainable expansion of the airport. SSE was a major participant in the 2007 "G1" public inquiry and had committed to be a major participant in the anticipated inquiry into the 'G2' second runway proposal. Following the withdrawal of the G2 planning application the group called upon BAA to sell the homes it had bought to support the planned expansion.
In September 2012, as a result of pressure from the aviation industry, the Government set up the Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to consider what, if anything, needed to be done to maintain the UK's status as a global aviation hub. The Commission concluded that an additional runway would be required for South East England and that it should be added to either Heathrow or Gatwick. Following the 2015 election the Commission made a final recommendation to expand Heathrow subject to certain environmental constraints.
Throughout 2013 the Airports Commission published discussion papers and invited submissions from key stakeholders on the main issues it wished to consider. SSE made several thorough submissions. SSE also accepted an invitation to give oral evidence and make a presentation to the Commission on aviation demand forecasting and connectivity at a public evidence session held in Manchester in July 2013.
MAG announced on 20 June 2013 as part of a visit to the airport by the Secretary of State for Transport that it would be launching an £80 million terminal redevelopment programme. MAG has invested £40 million and the remainder was invested by other commercial partners.The redevelopment included relocation of the security area, doubling the amount of seating and improving the information displays. The new Departure Lounge offers a Food Court, a number of new shops and Escape Lounge. However, many travellers have voiced concerns and complaints about the new layout because passengers are guided through a shopping walkway, and seating has been reduced in the main departure lounge. Satellite One has also been redeveloped with the aim to attract more long haul airlines to Stansted.
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Stansted:
operated by Travel Service
|Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion (begins 29 May 2017)
|Austrian Airlines||Seasonal charter: Innsbruck
|BH Air||Seasonal: Burgas
|BMI Regional||Derry (begins 2 May 2017)
operated by BA CityFlyer
|Berlin–Tegel, Faro, Málaga, Milan-Linate (begins 29 April 2017)
Seasonal: Chambéry, Florence (begins 6 May 2017), Geneva (begins 21 May 2017), Ibiza, Nice (begins 6 May 2017), Palma de Mallorca
|easyJet||Amsterdam, Asturias, Belfast-International, Bilbao, Cagliari, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ljubljana, Málaga, Munich, Naples, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Prague
Seasonal: Bodrum, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Geneva, Grenoble, Ibiza, Menorca (begins 24 June 2017), Reykjavik-Keflavík, Sofia, Split, Zakynthos
operated by Air Berlin
|Munich (begins 31 March 2017), Stuttgart, Vienna
operated by Eurowings Europe
|Salzburg (begins 29 October 2017), Vienna
operated by Germanwings
|Cologne/Bonn, Hannover, Stuttgart
operated by Loganair
|Dundee (ends 31 August 2017)
|Jet2.com||Alicante (begins 30 March 2017), Faro (begins 30 March 2017), Fuerteventura (begins 31 March 2017), Funchal (begins 3 April 2017), Gran Canaria (begins 1 April 2017), Lanzarote (begins 30 March 2017), Málaga (begins 31 March 2017), Paphos (begins 5 April 2017), Tenerife–South (begins 31 March 2017)
Seasonal: Antalya (begins 4 July 2017), Corfu (begins 3 July 2017), Dalaman (begins 4 July 2017), Dubrovnik (begins 29 April 2017), Geneva (begins 21 December 2017), Girona (begins 26 May 2017), Heraklion (begins 30 April 2017), Ibiza (begins 28 April 2017), Kos (begins 1 May 2017), Larnaca (begins 5 April 2017), Menorca (begins 29 April 2017), Palma de Mallorca (begins 30 March 2017), Pula (begins 30 April 2017), Reus (begins 28 April 2017), Rhodes (begins 27 April 2017), Salzburg (begins 30 November 2017), Split (begins 2 July 2017), Zakynthos (begins 25 May 2017)
|Loganair||Dundee (begins 1 September 2017)
|Montenegro Airlines||Seasonal: Tivat
|Pegasus Airlines||Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen, İzmir
Seasonal: Bodrum (resumes 29 May 2017)
|Ryanair||Aalborg (begins 31 October 2017), Aarhus, Agadir, Alicante, Ancona, Athens, Barcelona, Bari, Basel/Mulhouse, Bergamo, Bergerac, Berlin–Schönefeld, Béziers (begins 2 July 2017), Biarritz, Billund, Bologna, Bordeaux, Bratislava, Bremen, Brindisi, Brno, Bucharest, Budapest, Bydgoszcz, Cagliari (begins 28 April 2017), Carcassonne, Castellón, Clermont-Ferrand (resumes 3 July 2017), Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Cork, Dinard, Dortmund, Dublin, Edinburgh, Eindhoven, Faro, Fez, Frankfurt (begins 5 September 2017), Fuerteventura, Gdańsk, Genoa, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Gran Canaria, Grenoble, Hahn, Hamburg, Jerez de la Frontera, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Katowice, Kaunas, Kerry, Knock, Kraków, Kiev-Boryspil (begins 30 October 2017), La Rochelle, Lamezia Terme, Lanzarote, Leipzig/Halle, Limoges, Linz, Lisbon, Lourdes, Lublin, Łódź, Luxembourg, Lviv (begins 29 October 2017), Madrid, Málaga, Malta, Marrakesh, Marseille, Memmingen, Milan–Malpensa, Murcia, Naples (begins 1 July 2017), Nice (begins 1 July 2017), Nîmes, Nuremberg, Olsztyn, Oradea (begins 31 October 2017), Oslo-Gardermoen, Ostrava, Palanga, Palermo, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Pardubice (begins 31 October 2017), Perugia, Pescara, Pisa, Plovdiv, Podgorica, Poitiers, Ponta Delgada, Porto, Poznań, Prague, Rabat, Reus, Riga, Rome–Ciampino, Rzeszów, Salzburg, Sandefjord, Santander, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Shannon, Sofia, Stockholm-Skavsta, Stockholm-Västerås, Strasbourg, Szczecin, Tallinn, Tenerife–South, Thessaloniki, Timișoara, Toulouse, Tours, Treviso, Trieste, Turin, Valencia, Verona, Vilnius, Warsaw-Modlin, Wrocław, Zaragoza
Seasonal: Alghero, Almería, Brive, Chania, Comiso, Corfu, Deauville, Girona, Ibiza, Kefalonia, Lorient (begins 4 July 2017), Perpignan, Pula, Rhodes, Rijeka, Weeze, Zadar
|Thomas Cook Airlines||Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife–South
Seasonal: Alicante (begins 21 July 2017), Almería, Antalya, Cancún, Corfu, Dalaman, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Las Vegas, Menorca, Orlando–International, Palma de Mallorca, Reus, Rhodes, Skiathos, Zakynthos
|Thomson Airways||Cancún, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Paphos, Tenerife–South
Seasonal: Antalya, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Geneva, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca (begins 7 May 2017), Menorca, Montego Bay (begins 5 May 2017), Orlando–Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes, Salzburg, Turin, Zakynthos
|Titan Airways||Seasonal charter: Calvi, Chambéry, Tarbes/Lourdes, Zadar (begins 28 May 2017)|
|Asiana Cargo||Milan–Malpensa, Moscow–Domodedovo, Seoul–Incheon
|ASL Airlines Belgium||Liège
|Cargolux||Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Milan–Malpensa
|China Southern Cargo||Guangzhou, Frankfurt
|Etihad Cargo||Amsterdam, Nairobi
|FedEx Express||Cologne/Bonn, Dublin, Indianapolis, Memphis, Paris–Charles de Gaulle
operated by ASL Airlines Ireland
|Amsterdam, Glasgow, Manchester
operated by Swiftair
|Panalpina||Huntsville, Luxembourg, Guadalajara
|Qatar Airways Cargo||Accra, Doha, Milan–Malpensa, Oslo-Gardermoen
operated by Titan Airways
|Belfast-International, Edinburgh, Exeter
operated by West Atlantic
|Newcastle upon Tyne, Jersey, Guernsey, Edinburgh
|Turkish Airlines Cargo||Amsterdam, Istanbul–Atatürk
|UPS Airlines||Cologne/Bonn, Newark, Philadelphia|
In 2017 Antonov Airlines opened a UK office at Stansted for cargo charter flights, generally of outsize loads.
The Stansted Airport Transit System connects the terminal to the satellite buildings via a 2 mi (3 km) free automated people mover service, which runs on dual concrete tracks. The system uses a mix of Adtranz C-100 and Bombardier Innovia APM 100 vehicles to carry passengers to departure gates. Unlike the similar Gatwick Airport Shuttle Transit, the Stansted transit is only accessible "airside" (i.e. only after passengers pass through security).
Stansted Airport railway station is situated in the terminal building directly below the main concourse.
Services to London are on the Stansted Express train to and from London Liverpool Street in Central London. This service operates every 15 minutes and the usual journey time is between 45 and 53 minutes. Liverpool Street is served by the Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines of the London Underground network, offering access throughout London. The Stansted Express also calls at Tottenham Hale, for the Underground's Victoria line and connections to various destinations in North London and the West End. Some Stansted Express services also call at Stansted Mountfitchet, Bishop's Stortford and/or Harlow Town en route to London Liverpool Street.
CrossCountry operates an hourly service from the airport to Birmingham New Street, via Cambridge, Peterborough and Leicester. Greater Anglia operates services to Norwich via Cambridge.
Buses and coaches
Scheduled express bus or coach services run to and from Stratford (45 minutes), Victoria Coach Station (75 minutes), Liverpool Street Station (55 minutes), and Portman Square via Golders Green (70 minutes) and Paddington Station (105 minutes) (all in London), costing about half the train fare, but taking longer. The bus station is next to the terminal building. National Express runs direct coach services to the airport from Luton Airport and Heathrow, and also from Birmingham (11 a day), Oxford (8 a day), Norwich (10 a day), and Cambridge (11 a day).
Stansted is also the start of the hourly X30 coach service to Southend-on-Sea via Chelmsford and London Southend Airport and the hourly X10 coach service to Basildon via Chelmsford, both operated by First Essex.
Local bus services operate to nearby communities, including the 510/509/508 (Harlow to Stansted via Stansted Mountfitchet, Parsonage Lane and Takeley, respectively), 7/7a (Bishops Stortford to Stansted), 133 (Braintree), and 6 (Saffron Walden), operated by Arriva.
Stansted is connected to northeast London and Cambridge by the M11 motorway and to Braintree, Colchester, and Harwich by the A120, which is dual-carriageway until Braintree. The road distance to London is 37 miles (60 km).
As of October 1996, the airport has 2,500 short-stay parking spaces within walking distance to the terminal. In addition, as of the same month, the airport has over 8,000 long-stay spaces located near the M11 motorway and A120 junction. A courtesy bus service links the long-stay spaces to the terminal. The airport also offers mid-stay parking, closer to the terminal than its long-stay spaces. Stansted Airport also offers valet parking and a meet-and-greet service, which is similar to valet, but marketed more at the leisure-traveller market, both are run from the short-stay car park.
Incidents and accidents
Stansted has been designated by the UK Government as its preferred airport for any hijacked planes requesting to land in the UK. This is because its design allows a hijacked airliner to be isolated well away from any terminal buildings or runways, allowing the airport to continue to operate while negotiations are carried out, or even while an assault or rescue mission is undertaken. For this reason Stansted has been involved in more hijack incidents than might be expected for an airport of its size.
- On 27 February 1982 an Air Tanzania Boeing 737-2R8C landed at the airport after having been hijacked on an internal flight from Mwanza to Dar Es Salaam and flown to the UK via Nairobi, Jeddah and Athens, where two passengers had been released. The hijackers demanded to speak to exiled Tanzanian opposition politician Oscar Kambona. This request was granted and after 26 hours on the ground the hijackers surrendered and the passengers were released.
- On 22 December 1999, Korean Air Cargo Flight 8509, a Boeing 747-200F, crashed shortly after take off from the airfield due to pilot error. The only people on board at the time were the aircrew and all four were killed. The aircraft crashed in Hatfield Forest near the village of Great Hallingbury.
- On 6 February 2000, an Ariana Afghan Airlines Boeing 727 with 156 people on board was hijacked and flown - stopping at Tashkent, Kazakhstan and Moscow - to Stansted Airport. After a four-day stand-off the hostages on board were safely freed and the incident ended peacefully. It later emerged that the motive behind the hijack was to gain asylum in the UK, sparking debate about immigration into the country. A large number of passengers on board the plane also applied for asylum. The remainder returned to Afghanistan. Nine hijackers were jailed but their convictions for hijacking were quashed for misdirection of the jury in 2003, and in July 2004, it was ruled that they could not be deported from the UK.
- On 24 May 2013, Pakistan International Airlines flight 709 from Lahore, Pakistan was escorted by RAF Typhoons after being diverted from Manchester Airport due to an onboard threat. Two men were charged with endangering an aircraft.
- On 21 September 2013, SriLankan Airlines flight UL503 inbound to Heathrow, was escorted by RAF Typhoons to Stansted Airport after being diverted. Two men were detained for endangering an aircraft, one was formally arrested.
Images for kids
In Spanish: Aeropuerto de Londres-Stansted para niños
London Stansted Airport Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.