Report reveals long-haul benefits for the region


Launching in-demand routes from London Stansted to key global destinations would unlock £185m economic dividend, new research reveals.


  • Businesses across Cambridge voice support for new services to help attract high-quality international investment.
  • Boston and San Francisco routes most in demand due to strength of tech and life science sectors.
  • Singapore also key destination for business travel.
  • Regional connectivity would turbo-charge growth of East of England economy.

New research conducted by London Stansted and Cambridge& reveals £185m in new investment could be unlocked with the introduction of new US routes from the airport.

Businesses across Cambridge, particularly in life sciences, technology and advanced manufacturing, voiced strong support for new services to the business-critical destinations of Boston and San Francisco to sustain the city’s growth and achieve its full potential as it competes globally to attract high-quality international investment.

New services to Asia are also in strong demand to help accelerate trade growth, with Singapore in particular a key destination, as 21% of Cambridge biomedical companies are already Asia-Pacific owned.

The report, Connecting Cambridge to the World, was presented today to an audience of airlines, regional businesses, MPs and political representatives, and was the result of research on businesses in the Cambridge region representing around 35,000 employees, plus the views of CEOs and leaders of fast-growing Cambridge-based businesses.

Key findings include:

·         The majority (74%) of businesses anticipate their travel demand increasing in the next five years

·         Businesses would shift more than 50% of business flights to London Stansted, away from other London airports, for quicker travelling time with direct routes to key destinations

·         Services to key destinations of Boston and San Francisco would generate 50,000 new passengers in addition to those switching from other airports

·         £185 million of new investment delivered in East of England by direct flights to the two key US cities, plus £85 million in exports per year

Gareth Powell, London Stansted’s Managing Director, said:

This new research makes very clear the compelling case for new direct services to link Cambridge, via London Stansted, to global centres of excellence in high value sectors like technology, life sciences and advanced manufacturing.

“Connecting the region to the likes of Boston and San Francisco, in the US, and Singapore and China, in Asia, would result in a significant economic dividend being unlocked for the region, further accelerating the growth that is forecast for the years ahead.

“By coming together with businesses and other partners in Cambridge, and across the wider eastern region, we can demonstrate to long-haul airlines the unique opportunity they have, confident in the knowledge huge demand exists on the airport’s doorstep.

“The overwhelming majority of businesses surveyed said they expect their international travel needs to increase over the next five years, and that convenience and faster travelling times were the main reasons for shifting business flights to Stansted.

“We have spare capacity at Stansted, and not only do we need to use it in the most sustainable way, but also so it has the maximum economic impact.

“We already know London Stansted is an economic catalyst for the East of England, one of the UK’s most economically successful regions, and that Cambridge is the jewel in the crown, but if we can secure these new routes, hundreds of millions of pounds of additional investment can be unlocked to maintain and build on that growth and prosperity.”

Harriet Fear MBE, Director at Cambridge& said:

“Cambridge& is delighted to partner with Stansted on this important research, revealing the strong demand within Cambridge and the East of England for long-haul business travel from Stansted, and the economic dividend this could deliver for our region.

“It is vital that Cambridge, unique within the UK with a burgeoning life sciences and technology cluster, secures new, high-quality international investment to ensure our knowledge-intensive sectors remain globally competitive. The possibility of route development at Stansted presents a strong opportunity to secure this investment.”

Alan Hirzel, CEO of Abcam, the life sciences company that supplies innovative products to scientists worldwide, said:

“Abcam is a global company headquartered in Cambridge with 95% of our business demand outside of the UK. Efficient travel corridors to Asia and the USA are essential for our company to continue to grow and thrive from our base in Britain.

“With our recent investments and facility expansions in Singapore, Shanghai, Boston, Eugene and San Francisco we are travelling more than ever, and yet, with few direct flight options available, we face up to two hours travel time to Heathrow each way, adding to the costs of our operations, so we strongly support alternative carriers and more direct routes from Stansted.”

Full details of the report and appendices available via links below: