Speaking ahead of an address at the London First Infrastructure Summit on Wednesday (September 12), Stansted chief executive Ken O’Toole set out how the airport could play a vital role in delivering the 50% growth in London air passengers forecast over the next decade.
Stansted is in the midst of a £600 million investment programme, which could see it boost passenger numbers from 25 million to 43 million a year, subject to planning permission. It last month gave a first look at the airport’s new £130 million arrivals terminal.
However, O’Toole said the government had to match the airport’s growth ambitions with “swift and supportive” action.
He called for new aviation strategy designed to maximise the potential of existing UK airports; improvements to rail infrastructure serving Stansted; deliver on a promise to reform Air Passenger Duty; and a commitment to reducing inbound border queues.
O’Toole said airports needed a “green light to grow” and make an important contribution to economic growth in London and the south east.
According to O’Toole, Stansted delivered a 95% year-on-year increase in passengers this summer with the additional of new long-haul routes and airline partners.
“This growth is set to continue for Stansted and we are forecast to deliver as much as 50% of London’s total expected passenger growth over the next decade,” he said.
“London has never been in greater need of a vibrant aviation industry and as we look to the future, we need to ensure we have the connectivity to trade globally, attract overseas investment and encourage tourists to our shores. We need to make best use of available airport capacity now to make this happen.”
O’Toole said Stansted’s proposed increase in passenger numbers could be achieved within existing limits on flight numbers and noise restrictions.
However, while welcoming the government’s pledge to help airports “make best use of existing capacity”, O’Toole said there were other areas that needed addressing to support this including major improvements to regional infrastructure and better connectivity between UK air hubs.