Ambitious Stansted targets US, China and India routes
Bosses at Stansted Airport is looking to build on a record-busting 2017 by attracting more long haul routes from the Essex hub – with key targets the United States, China and India.
If CEO Ken O’Toole and the team succeed than it will open up more direct routes to key global markets for executives in Cambridge’s European-leading technology and life science cluster.
Stansted recorded its busiest ever year as it welcomed 25.9 million passengers in 2017 – an increase of 1.57 million passengers and 6.5 per cent over the previous 12 months.
The record-breaking performance was achieved with the addition of 11 new routes across the year with Stansted now serving over 190 destinations across 38 countries, and more scheduled connections to Europe than any other airport in the world apart from Munich.
The year ended on a high with the announcement that leading international airline Emirates will open a new direct service to Dubai in June 2018, and onward access to a wide range of destinations right across the world, including Shanghai, Sydney, and Hong Kong.
During 2017, the top five destination countries reporting the strongest growth by passenger volumes verses 2016 were Spain (+478,000), France (+382,000), Denmark (+281,000), Turkey (+222,000) and Bulgaria (+134,000).
The top five destination airports recording the largest increase in passenger numbers during the year were Copenhagen (+263,000), Oslo (+240,000), Hamburg (+180,000), Toulouse (+153,000) and Sofia (+137,000).
The number of passengers passing through the airport in December 2017 was slightly down (-1.2 per cent) on the same month in 2016, largely due to the cancellation of over 300 flights during the period due to adverse weather conditions in the UK and across Europe. However, it was still the second busiest December on record with over 1.8 million passengers flying during the month.
O’Toole, said: “The last year has been a very busy and exciting time at London Stansted with passenger numbers and the range of destinations directly available from the airport both reaching all-time highs.
“The positive passenger growth was driven by increased choice from many of our airline partners, particularly Ryanair who experienced another strong year, and the very successful opening of Jet2.com’s first base in the south of England back in March.
“In 2018, our aim is to continue growing our passenger numbers and provide even more choice, so we were absolutely delighted to announce just before Christmas that Emirates will begin operating a new service to Dubai from Stansted in June.
“This excellent addition to our route network comes on top of the very exciting news that Primera Air will also launch direct flights to New York, Boston and Toronto from April and May this year.
“These great successes are just the start, not the end, of our long-haul ambitions with more routes to the US and new services to China and India key targets for us.
“As we are now serving more passengers than at any time in the airport’s history, it’s imperative that we plan how we can keep pace with demand and invest in developing quality, good value facilities to ensure we do all we can to enhance the passenger experience.
“Work is now underway on phase one of our £500 million airport transformation project which will add more check-in desks, extra seating and more car park spaces, and we will shortly submit a planning application to make best use of our existing runway capacity within current environmental limits to improve UK connectivity and support national and regional economic growth.”
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Ken O’Toole, CEO, Stansted Airport