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Airport History

More than 2000 years ago, Stansted was a roman burial site. Now, of course, it is a thriving international airport. Here are some of the key milestones in our development.


March: Manchester Airports Group become owners of Stansted Airport Ltd.


March: 20th anniversary of the terminal opening.


July: London Stansted receives permission to handle Code F aircraft, including Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8.

May: G2 planning application withdrawn following the formation of a new Government and new aviation policy.


October: David Johnston joins as London Stansted's new Managing Director.

May: New £1m upgrade to the Airport Fire Station completed.

March: AirAsia X inaugral flight between London Stansted and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


December: New £50m arrivals extension complete and fully open to passengers.

October: G1 permission granted allowing the airport to operate to 35 million passengers per year.

July: The second runway planning application is "called in" by the government to be heard by a public inquiry in 2009.

July: First phase of new £50m terminal extension opens to passengers.

June: Airport marks 25th anniversary of space shuttle landing.

March: Planning applications submitted for a two-runway, two-terminal Stansted - due to open in 2015.

February: A new Training and Skills Academy opens at the airport offering employment opportunities to thousands of people in the local region.


October: Public inquiry closes. A Government decision on plans to allow passenger numbers to grow on our existing runway is expected in 2008.

August: Stansted's busiest ever summer sees 2.5m passengers travel through the airport in August.

May: Public inquiry opens into Stansted's plans to raise the limit on its existing runway operation from 25m to 35m passengers a year.

May: Stansted launches a new interactive noise website, complete with plane tracking.

April: Construction work begins on £40 million project to extend our main terminal building.

February: We launch public consultation on road and rail strategy for a two-runway Stansted.

January: We announce Stewart Wingate as BAA Stansted's new Managing Director.


November: Planning permission turned down to expand Stansted airport operations on the existing single runway.

June: Ferrovial takes control of BAA and all our airports.

2000 – 2005

2005: Stansted launches its draft interim masterplan.

2003: We agree a £30 million package of community benefits and environmental safeguards.

2002: Planning permission granted by Uttlesford District council to expand to 25 million passengers a year. The Government's South East and East of England Regional Air Services study includes Stansted in the future of aviation in the south-east over the next 30 years.

2000: Work on Phase 2 commences and public consultation begins on expansion to about 25 million passengers a year.


1999: Parliament raises the Passenger Air Transport Movement cap to 185,000 a year and permission was given for phase 2 of Stansted to go ahead.

1991: The Queen opened the £400 million new terminal, aprons and taxiways at Stansted, which increased the airport's capacity from two to eight million passengers a year.


April 1986: Work starts on the new airport.

1985: Following a public enquiry lasting 258 days, the Government gives permission for development to about 15 million passengers a year. An early motion by 75 MPs led to a compromise of phased development to eight and then 15 million passengers with a cap on the number of take-offs and landings by passenger aircraft.

1980: The British Airports Authority submitted planning application to Uttlesford District Council to develop Stansted Airport.


1978: The Government White Paper 'Airport Policy' proposed major expansion of Stansted.

1970: The new terminal was extended to handle increasing numbers of passengers.


1966: The newly created British Airports Authority took control.


1944: D-Day, Bombers from Stansted led more than 600 aircraft over the beaches of France.

1942: The runway was built by USAAF.

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