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Our history

The history of London Stansted Airport

London Stansted Airport from the air

1942 - The runway was built by the US Air Force as part of Stansted Mountfitchet Airfield.

1944 - On D-Day, bombers from Stansted led more than 600 aircraft over the beaches of occupied France.

1966 - The newly created British Airports Authority took control.

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

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

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

1986 - Work starts on the new airport.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

2005 - Stansted launches its draft interim masterplan.

2007 - Stansted's busiest ever summer sees 2.5m passengers travel through the airport in August. Construction work begins on £40 million project to extend our main terminal building.

2008 - A new Training and Skills Academy opens at the airport offering employment opportunities to thousands of people in the local region. In June the airport marks 25th anniversary of space shuttle landing. In December, the new arrivals extension is complete and fully open to passengers.

2009 - New £1m upgrade to the Airport Fire Station completed.

2010 - London Stansted receives permission to handle Code F aircraft, including Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8.

2011 - 20th anniversary of the terminal opening.

2013 - MAG purchases London Stansted Airport for £1.5 billion.

2017 - Jet2.com chooses London Stansted as its first ever base in Southern England.

2018 - Direct Emirates flights to Dubai and Primera flights to the USA begin operation.