Stansted aims to become the UK's next long-haul hub

17 January 2017 16:42

David O'Brien, Ryanair's chief commercial officer

David O'Brien, Ryanair's chief commercial officer

Stansted Airport has made a bid to become Britain's next hub for long-haul travel, as passengers are promised seamless connection facilities and baggage transfer.

"Heathrow is full, Gatwick is pretty much full, if anyone wants to grow in London we've got the capacity to make that happen," the airport's chief executive, Andrew Cowan, told The Independent .

Stansted currently operates as a point-to-point airport, with no baggage-transfer operation. This means passengers looking to pass through the airport will have to collect and re-check their baggage.

The airport is now planning for "seamless transit", enabling more long-haul options and a greater global reach.

Extending its network

The move to allow smoother connections comes amid expansion plans from Ryanair that will see the carrier offer nine new destinations from the Essex-based airport.

In addition, the Irish airline will add extra flights to 13 of its existing routes.

The carrier's expansion plans coincide with an imminent deal that will see the low-cost airline begin feeding long-haul passengers to Norwegian Air.

The ground-breaking deal will open up Norwegian's rapidly-expanding US and Asia routes and takes advantage of Ryanair's current European reach.

Ryanair's chief commercial officer, David O'Brien, said: "We are pleased to announced a new growth deal with Manchester Airports Group at London Stansted Airport, which enables Ryanair to add nine new London Stansted routes this summer, including a daily flight to Naples and a three times daily service to Copenhagen.

"Having grown our London Stansted traffic from 13.2m in 2013 to over 20m this year, this new deal will allow Ryanair to continue to expand our route network at Stansted, our largest European base."

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Britain's "fourth business airport"

The Essex-based airport is the UK's fourth busiest airport, following Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.

Despite a 13% fall in the number of flights, Stansted saw a record-breaking number of passengers in 2016.

Some 24.3 million passengers passed through the airport last year, beating the previous high set in 2007 of 23.8 million.

Mr Cowan said: "Ryanair is an important and valued partner for us at Stansted and we're delighted to support the airline's exciting expansion plans for the summer, which will help ensure Stansted remains one of the UK's fastest growing airports and see us serve well over 25 million passengers a year within the next 12 months."

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