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London Stansted outlines the growth potential and benefits of existing runway

02 Sep 2014

  • New routes and increased frequencies to drive growth and enable doubling of passenger numbers to 40-45 million per year on single runway
  • Growth achievable within agreed noise and air quality limits and existing boundary
  • Existing capacity has the potential to support an extra 10,000 on-site jobs and generate £4.6bn in additional economic benefit
  • Key enabler of growth in the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor and east London

London Stansted Airport today launched a consultation on its draft Sustainable Development Plan (SDP) that sets out how the airport will develop to make use of the existing capacity of its single runway.

Stansted’s important role has already been recognised by the Airports Commission, and the plan will help inform its final recommendations to Government on the vital contribution that Stansted’s existing capacity will make to meeting demand over the next 10-15 years.

The plan establishes a framework for responsible and sustainable growth at Stansted, and demonstrates the airport’s ability to grow to handle 40-45 million passengers a year within agreed environmental limits and without the need for additional airport land. Making use of Stansted’s existing capacity will generate an extra 10,000 on-site jobs and £4.6 billion in additional economic activity, and act as a key enabler for economic development in the thriving London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor and east London.

The draft plan is a key element of Stansted’s on-going consultation on its approach to developing the airport to make more effective use of existing capacity. As part of Stansted’s commitment to increase the level of engagement with local communities, the airport will be holding a series of public exhibitions in local towns and villages during September and October. Those with an interest in the airport’s future are being encouraged to visit an exhibition to hear more about the plans and give their views.

Launching the consultation, London Stansted Managing Director, Andrew Harrison said:

"Stansted’s potential for sustainable growth will be of enormous value as the UK strives to develop its global connectivity to support increased trade and investment, and these issues will be central to the Airports Commission’s work as it develops its final recommendations to Government. This plan highlights the vital role that the existing capacity of Stansted’s single runway will play over the next 10-15 years in meeting these challenges, showing how the airport can more than double the number of passengers it serves and provide greater choice and variety for passengers.

"The airport’s prime location at the heart of the London-Stansted-Cambridge economic corridor means we will see a significant increase in demand at Stansted over the coming years, driven by strong economic activity across the region. The plan establishes a framework for that growth to the capacity of our existing runway, supported by commitments on the way we will work closely and openly with our local communities to strike the right balance between the benefits and impacts of having Stansted on their doorstep.

"Making effective use of the runway will not only create an additional 10,000 on-site jobs and potentially generate £4.6 billion in economic benefits but it will also support the rapid growth of the dynamic corridor – already generating over £160 billion for the UK economy – plus the fast development and strategic importance of the East London economy.

"We strongly believe Stansted can increase international connectivity in the most sustainable, responsible and cost effective way possible. For example, our plan shows how we could operate within the agreed air quality and noise limits of our current planning permissions while at the same time making more effective use of existing capacity.

"We are now consulting so that we can take account of the views and ideas of those with an interest in how Stansted grows to make the best possible use of its existing capacity. This will help us in preparing the final version of our plan later this year and I would encourage as many people as possible to share their thoughts during this process."

Stansted’s potential for growth has been recognised by a wide range of business leaders, MPs and airlines, including:

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s Chief Executive:

"Stansted is a very different airport with very different ambitions under the ownership of M.A.G. The airport has untapped potential and spare capacity so it’s vital to make full and efficient use of the existing infrastructure to provide more growth opportunities and greater value to airlines and consumers at a time when runway capacity is becoming ever more constrained in the south-east of England."

Sophie Dekkers, UK Director for easyJet:

"Aviation plays a vital role in supporting the UKs economy and connecting British businesses and people with the rest of the world. Over the next few decades there will be demand for new aviation capacity in the South East. easyJet strongly believes that existing aviation capacity in the South East of England must be fully utilised. We welcome London Stansted's growth plans which show that Stansted can play an important role in providing significant additional capacity in the short to medium term."

Richard Currie, UPS Public Affairs Director:

"Air freight is a UK success story integral to economic growth. Stansted’s role should not be underestimated as a key export hub which connects UK businesses to Europe and the rest of the world. It is vital that Stansted continues to be backed as an economic asset over the next decade."

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of business group, London First:

"While politicians dither over new runways, they’d do well to understand what can be done in the short-term. Stansted is a national asset that could grow London’s global reach if Government woke up to the fact. With a better rail link up the Lee Valley to London, and a journey time that competes with Heathrow and Gatwick, Stansted could attract new long haul airlines. And instead of labouring under a false cap on passenger numbers, it could be freed to fulfill its destiny with a higher cap, while staying within noise limits already in place."

David Lammy, MP for Tottenham and joint chairman of the London-Stansted-Cambridge Consortium political group:

"Since being sold last year Stansted Airport is once again increasing passenger numbers and providing Londoners with more choice and destinations. Its future prospects look strong. The new owner, M.A.G, seems committed to transforming the airport and Stansted should be allowed to reach its full potential. Making best use of Stansted will not only help provide more jobs, opportunities and better connectivity for my constituents in Tottenham but would help us attract investment in the rail links from London to the airport that we are all crying out for. Regardless of where London’s long-term aviation growth lies, the bottom line is that we need more air capacity now. Stansted is clearly best-placed to provide this short- to medium-term increase in capacity."

Colin Stanbridge Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry:

"Stansted is a world class international airport on London’s doorstep with the capacity to do more for the capital and its businesses. Unlocking that latent capacity need not be difficult nor expensive: removing the artificial cap on the number of passengers able to pass through the airport would be cost-free. Likewise, the minor improvements to surface access that will deliver a faster and more frequent rail connection to the City have been planned for years and, with the political will, could be delivered efficiently and cost-effectively.

"The benefits of doing so are clear: London and Britain’s success relies on its openness to the world and its businesses rely on trade and foreign investment to grow and create prosperity. London and Britain suffers when aviation capacity is constrained. While politicians have dithered about where the next runway can be built, there needs to be a greater focus on what can be done in the short- and medium-term to alleviate the capacity crisis. The answer is right in front of them: a better connected Stansted that is able to make the most of its capacity would benefit businesses, London and Britain."

Mark Pendlington, Chairman New Anglia LEP:

"Growth, business opportunities and jobs depend on the east of England being able to compete and win in the global marketplace. This is why Stansted has a major role to play in keeping our economy mobile and easily accessible for millions of business and leisure travellers, and for all those who want to make this part of the world a great place to live and work. Stansted’s growth is at the heart of all the exciting opportunities that exist here so it’s vital the very best use is made of the airport’s existing capacity and infrastructure."

Councilor David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council:

"A strong Essex economy needs sensible growth at Stansted to provide for more inward investment and to create jobs and business and leisure opportunities. I’m delighted that Stansted shares the big ambitions of a big county, and I will support work to tell the world how good we are and how much better we can be. I pledge Essex County Council’s partnership to improving our road and rail infrastructure helping people get to and from the airport quicker and more efficiently."

John Dugmore, Chief Executive Suffolk Chamber of Commerce:

"Suffolk and the East of England is the home of hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. It is also home to some of the most forward thinking and highly skilled businesses in the UK and the role of Stansted Airport is fundamental to the future success of the regional economy.

"It is vital that the existing runway at Stansted is used to its capacity as more and more businesses look to do business across the EU and around the world. Our view and the view of business is that while this approach is the most sustainable and efficient it also means we can continue to attract investment into the economy in the coming years. By utilising the current runway to its maximum benefit we will see more investment, more economic growth, more jobs and more prosperity coming into our region."

David Burch, Director of Policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce:

"Stansted is a major asset to the economy of the East of England and Essex, particularly in terms of attracting inward investment to the UK along with visitors from overseas. It has planning permission to handle 35 million passengers a year but could handle up to 45 million without the need to construct an additional runway or make any major changes to existing airport infrastructure. It is already well known for low cost carriers but has real opportunities to add additional destinations and airlines and develop long-haul services. Essex Chambers of Commerce very much support M.A.G in these aspirations which bring with them the opportunities to create additional economic growth, 10,000 jobs and £2billion GVA for the benefit of not just Essex but the rest of the East of England and the UK general."

Keith Brown, Chief Executive Visit East Anglia:

"Tourism in East Anglia is worth in excess of £6bn and employs over 100k people with international visitors being a significant contributor to that total. Having such a gateway as London Stansted Airport provides tourism businesses in East Anglia access to over 150 international markets and therefore is important in helping build a sustainable and successful visitor economy. Tourism supports not only our vibrant cities but also many of our smaller towns and villages that need the visitor spend to maintain the shops and other local businesses for local residents to enjoy."

Adrian Cannard, Director of Strategy and Planning, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP

"Cambridge and Peterborough are dynamic cities and world leading centres for innovation and research so it’s important businesses in this area have quick and convenient access to international air travel to support economic growth and attract even more overseas companies to invest and locate here.

Stansted Airport already provides direct connections to over 160 destinations but it’s vital the airport makes the best use of its existing infrastructure and runway capacity to unlock further potential and ensure the area and its business community continues to grow and compete though enhanced international connectivity."

Consultation runs until November 07th 2014. Dates and locations for the public exhibitions, including details on how the public can take part, are available by visiting:
www.stanstedairport.com/developmentplan

The final version of the plan is expected to be published in late 2014.