Blog: 2018 will build on last year’s significant growth at London Stansted
Following the news that Emirates is coming to London Stansted Airport, Commercial Director Martin Jones reflects on 2017, and looks at what this year has in store.
As we begin a brand new year, I’d like to reflect on the past 12 months and the successes London Stansted Airport has enjoyed in 2017.
Last year was arguably the most successful year under MAG ownership in terms of airline development, with the launches of several new carriers including Jet2.com, Air Mediterranean and bmi regional.
Most exciting for me was our success in securing deals with more carriers for 2018 onwards. Stansted already has one of the strongest European networks so it’s great to secure deals with Air Corsica and Widerøe to develop this further.
The journey to long-haul
Further afield, we have been focusing on developing our long-haul network.
We have seen low-cost transform the European aviation market in recent years, and the next big thing will be low-cost long-haul. With this on the horizon, and following the redevelopment of Satellite 1 to attract and accommodate new airlines, we’re delighted to have secured direct routes to New York, Boston and Toronto with Primera Air, and with WOW air serving Reykjavik and its many onward connections across the USA.
Announced before Christmas, the new service with Emirates will fly from London Stansted from next summer, which is a huge achievement. We have been working on securing this deal for a long time, with many conversations, negotiations and meetings but I am delighted that the team were able to close a deal. As well as direct access to Dubai, this opens up 154 onward connections and new countries, 86 of which will now become a viable choice from London Stansted. No longer will passengers have to drive past Stansted to access these routes from Heathrow and Gatwick!
These great successes are just the start, not the end, of our long-haul ambitions with more routes to the USA and new services to China and India key targets for us.
2018 will see almost 50 per cent more carriers flying from the airport compared to 2016. However, we can’t forget our existing carriers and will also see new routes served including Bodrum, Turkey and Naples, Italy by Jet2.com, as well as Bourgas, Bulgaria by TUI and Rimini, Italy by Ryanair.
Stansted Transformation Project
As our destination list grows, upgrades to the terminal to improve the passenger experience are imminent. Phase 1 of the Stansted Transformation Project will be completed before summer, including 2,000 new short stay car parking spaces in the blue carpark, 12 new check-in desks, and eight new aircraft stands, some of which will be delivered before summer.
The biggest improvement to the customer journey will be a reconfigured International Departure Lounge with extra seats being added above the main restaurant area, a new two-storey, 400-seater restaurant opening and the mezzanine in Wetherpoons doubling in size. In total, 1,500 new seats will be added to the 2,000 currently in the departure lounge.
Of course, there is much to think about outside the airport itself as we look ahead. Discussions on Brexit and aviation are underway and the debate around a new runway in London is in full swing but I am confident, with available runway capacity, London Stansted has a critical role to play over the next decade helping to foster new trade links, grow global connectivity and increase tourism to the UK.
For us, the largest challenge will be accommodating this new growth prior to fully completing the Stansted Transformation Project. However, we are already working hard to prepare for Summer 2018, and I am sure we’ll have another very successful and exciting year ahead.