London Stansted Airport today expressed disappointment after Network Rail published scaled back plans for short term improvements to journey times and reliability on the mainline to the airport and Cambridge.
Bosses at the airport believe the proposals fall a long way short of what passengers and the region deserve and that they again ignore recommendations from the Airports Commission for urgent action.
Nearly a year after it was first due to be published, the Anglia Route Study - which provides the blueprint for the railway in the East of England up to the 2040s - has suggested journey times savings of between 2 to 5 minutes could be achieved on the mainline to Stansted and Cambridge but only if new rolling stock is made available in the next rail franchise.
The airport had been working in partnership with Network Rail on a proposal to reduce journey times to Stansted to around 40 minutes over the next five years which would also lead to improvements for commuters in Cambridge, Bishop’s Stortford and Harlow.
Managing Director, Andrew Harrison said:
“Network Rail's plans for the West Anglia Main Line to London Stansted Airport and Cambridge fall a long way short of what passengers, commuters and businesses on the line deserve.
“The plans still do not provide an adequate solution to the Airports Commission's recommendation for urgent action to improve rail services to Stansted in the short term, and they do not address the issues that passengers face now - day in, day out - in terms of journey times and reliability.
“The suggestion by Network Rail of a two minute saving to Stansted is derisory when our own work shows that a much greater reduction in journey times could be achieved in the short term, paid for by the additional fares from more passengers using faster trains.
“Short term improvements would provide an important boost to Stansted, and help sustain the Eastern region's recent strong economic growth."
London Stansted celebrates 25th anniversary of HM The Queen officially opening the terminal building and ‘new’ airport
9,132 days since the terminal opened
Over 350 million passengers since March 1991
More than 3.2 million flights to and from airport
Busiest single terminal airport in UK serving 23 million passengers a year
Stansted Airport is today celebrating the 25th anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen officially opening the iconic terminal building and London’s third major airport on 15 March, 1991.
Stansted originally began life as a World War II USAAF base but was transformed by the development of a new £400 million terminal and world class airfield infrastructure in 1991.
Since the first flight departed to Glasgow four days later, over 350 million passengers have passed through the Lord Foster designed building on over 3.2 million flights.
In the last 25 years, the terminal has been extended twice, including a £50m extension to the arrivals area that opened in 2008, and following MAG’s acquisition in 2013, the terminal has undergone an £80 million transformation along with an £11m upgrade to the Satellite One departures area.
Today, the airport serves over 170 destinations and 23 million passengers a year compared to less than 50 routes and 1.1 million passengers when it opened in 1991, is now firmly established in the top 25 busiest European airports and is the busiest single terminal airport anywhere in the UK.
Stansted has also grown to become the largest single employment site in the eastern region with over 11,600 people working at the airport. In addition, of MAG’s current 1400 employees, over 100 staff have worked at the airport for the full 25 years of the terminal’s life, a feat repeated by many more staff employed at the other 200 on-airport companies.
Andrew Harrison, Stansted’s Managing Director, said:
“The modern Stansted we see today has made an immense contribution in helping transform the aviation landscape in the UK and Europe through access to affordable and convenient air travel.
“Stansted has always been recognised for its world class airport infrastructure and iconic terminal design, but it’s the significant role as a major London airport competing for passengers and attracting new airlines during a period when the sector has dramatically changed and evolved that really marks out what Stansted has delivered over the past 25 years.
“Stansted is now firmly established as a leading European airport, a true international gateway and home to some of the world’s most successful airlines, such as Ryanair and easyJet.
“Building on these excellent foundations, we have recently completed an £80 million investment project to reinvigorate and update the terminal, and following MAG’s acquisition we have added over five million passengers in three years to once again make Stansted one of the UK’s fastest growing airports.
“It’s great to look back and acknowledge past achievements and the progress we have made but with passenger numbers growing rapidly and Stansted already the busiest single terminal airport in the UK, we are now focusing on what developments and investments we need in the future to keep pace with demand, a future that promises to be just as exciting and as fast moving as the past 25 years.”
Also providing comment on the 25th anniversary:
Sir Alan Haselhurst MP, said:
“Whilst an international airport is not universally seen as the most comfortable of neighbours, it would be churlish not to offer congratulations to everyone involved as Stansted marks its 25th year in the iconic terminal. Under the management of Manchester Airports Group, Stansted has become more user friendly and more community friendly. I commend its initiative in the field of education and training through its Aerozone education centre. I welcome the support given towards improving rail services. It is the biggest employer in the constituency by far and the increasing number of flight options it offers is gaining wider appreciation.”
Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs said:
“As the largest airline at London Stansted, Ryanair is pleased to help mark the 25th birthday of its terminal building. Ryanair has carried over 212 million customers to and from London Stansted Airport and as the home of our largest base, we are continuing to grow traffic, routes and jobs. We’ve recently added new routes to Hamburg, Jerez, Sofia, Timisoara and Toulouse, offering 130 routes in total, which will help deliver 20 million customers through London Stansted this year, supporting 15,000 “on-site” jobs.
“To celebrate 25 years, we are releasing 25,000 seats for just £9.99 across 15 routes, including Cologne, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Oslo, for travel in April, which are available for booking until Thursday (17 Mar). Since these amazing low prices will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto Ryanair.com and avoid missing out.”
Neil Slaven, Commercial Manager, easyJet, commented:
“We are delighted to mark this milestone with London Stansted Airport. easyJet has been flying to and from the airport for seventeen years and it remains a key part of our London strategy enabling people from across the region to fly from their local airport to a range of domestic and international destinations throughout Europe.”
Dr Stephen King, Director, London Stansted Cambridge Corridor, said:
“Stansted has changed the face of aviation and our region for the better over the last 25 years. Not only has the airport been a key catalyst for economic growth and jobs, it has helped to connect thousands of businesses along the London-Stansted-Cambridge innovation corridor with the global marketplace and secured vital inward investment opportunities into the likes of Harlow, Cambridge and East Hertfordshire.”
To mark the Anniversary, a celebratory cake cutting ceremony took take place in the terminal building earlier today for MAG staff who have been at the airport for 25 years or more plus launch of a staff ‘memories’
Airport staff talk about their most memorable moments from the past 25 years read more...
View more photographs of the grand opening by the Queen can be viewed by clicking here.
Andrew Cowan, currently Chief Strategy Officer of MAG, has been appointed Divisional CEO of London Stansted Airport.
Andrew Cowan will take up his role at the UK’s fourth largest airport on 1 April 2016 and lead a team of over 1,400 employees. Prior to becoming Chief Strategy Officer at MAG, Andrew was Chief Operating Officer of MAG and Managing Director of Manchester Airport.
Andrew Harrison, who has led Stansted since MAG’s acquisition of the airport in March 2013, will assume the role of Chief Strategy Officer at MAG, based in Manchester. In this new role, one of Andrew’s key responsibilities will be to spearhead a new function tasked with defining MAG’s digital strategy and e-commerce business model. This “MAG-online” proposition will also enable the improvement of customer service and airport efficiency, and expand MAG’s profitable products and services portfolio outside of the Group. Commercial trading, e-commerce and CRM will sit within this function in addition to Group Strategy and Corporate Development.
Under Andrew Harrison’s leadership, London Stansted Airport has become one of the UK’s fastest growing airports; adding 5 million passengers and now offering more European destinations than any other UK airport.
During the last three years, £80 million has been spent on transforming London Stansted’s terminal and British Airways has recently announced plans to begin flights from the airport. Earlier this month, London Stansted was named the ‘Best London Airport’ at the 2016 London Transport Awards.
Announcing the appointments, Charlie Cornish, Chief Executive Officer of MAG, said: “Since MAG acquired London Stansted, Andrew Harrison has done a fantastic job of driving growth at the airport and integrating it into the wider Group.
“Andrew Cowan is hugely experienced and I am confident that he will continue to build on the great foundations that exist at Stansted.
“The airport has even greater potential and there is a clear and pressing need to improve its rail links in order to enable it to take the strain as other London airports reach capacity and before any new runway can be built in the south east.”
Andrew Cowan said: “It’s a hugely exciting time in the aviation industry and I feel privileged to be taking on the role of Divisional CEO at London Stansted Airport. Andrew Harrison has delivered phenomenal growth and a significant investment programme which has seen passengers and airlines voting with their feet and choosing Stansted.
“I’m looking forward to building on the strong foundations left by Andrew, continuing the drive to attract new airlines to serve the vibrant London market and burgeoning Eastern England region and further improving the customer experience.”
Andrew Harrison said: “I’m very proud of what the Stansted team has achieved over the last three years. We have taken the airport through a significant transformation programme, returned passenger numbers back close to their previous peak and rebuilt our relationships with the local community. The airport has a very promising future ahead and I wish Andrew every success in taking forward the next chapter in Stansted’s journey.
“I am delighted to have been appointed Chief Strategy Officer and lead MAG's push into new markets. The opportunities for innovative companies like ours are endless and we have a great opportunity to become a leader in airport management, digital products and services.”
Following the publication this morning of a letter signed by 200 business leaders in support of remaining in the EU, MAG, the owner of Stansted Airport, issued the following statement.
Charlie Cornish, Chief Executive of MAG, owner of Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports, said:
"The EU has benefitted UK consumers and businesses enormously over the last 25 years by opening up the European aviation market to provide greater competition and choice.
"UK airlines now compete successfully on routes right across Europe, taking full advantage of the ‘open skies’ created by the EU.
"In addition to a greater choice of destinations and lower fares, European travellers have also gained in other ways, including safer and more secure travel, the abolition of mobile phone roaming charges, reciprocal health agreements and protection when flights are disrupted.
"Inside the EU Britain can continue to grow, invest and create jobs and I believe it would be in the best interests of the millions of passengers using our airports every year, and the UK economy, for Britain to remain in a reformed Europe."
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