Stansted’s MD Nick Barton says the airport could attract more airlines and business if the Stansted to London train link was faster. Currently, train journey times from Stansted airport to London Liverpool Street are around 45 minutes.
“Connectivity between airport and financial destination is critical,” Mr Barton told the Financial Times.
The UK’s third largest airport by passengers numbers (called “London Stansted” although it is technically in Essex) handles 18 million people a year but it has the capacity to service 35 million.
London’s main international airport Heathrow is full and the second largest, Gatwick, is nearing capacity.
Half of those who use Stansted arrive by public transport – either coach or rain, which is the highest proportion of any major UK airport. However, Mr Barton says it’s the journey time to London which is putting off some travellers.
Stansted airport is asking Network Rail to include a commitment to cutting the journey time in its investment plan for the next five years at a time when the government is reviewing the issue of limited airport capacity in the heavily-populated south-east of England.
The argument is that by adding more flight routes and airlines at Stansted, the location of a lot of small- and medium-sized businesses, it would help boost trade between the UK and the rest of Europe.
EasyJet and Ryanair as well as a number of other airlines operate out of Stansted, which looks set to be even busier during the London Olympics this summer.
London Stansted Airport this month unveiled a major new advertising campaign in its iconic terminal to support the Government’s ‘GREAT Britain – You’re Invited’ initiative. The campaign is part of the UK’s drive to promote inbound tourism, attract new business and deliver long-term economic benefits in 2012 and beyond.
As the busiest single terminal for overseas visitors arriving in the UK by air, and with more scheduled connections across Europe than any other airport in the world, Stansted is an ideal platform to showcase the best of British to overseas visitors.
Speaking at the launch of the ‘GREAT’ campaign at Stansted earlier this month, Head of Public Affairs, Chris Wiggan, commented:
“Millions of foreign visitors already pass through our doors each year to take advantage of our direct and easy links to London and our excellent location in the eastern region, on the doorstep of the globally renowned University City of Cambridge, the world-famous Newmarket racecourse and idyllic Constable Country.
“As the eyes of the world prepare to focus on London later this year, and with our expansive route network of over 150 direct connections across Europe, we’re delighted to lend our support to this important Government-lead initiative to raise international awareness and boost inbound tourism to the UK.”
Patricia Yates, Director of Strategy & Communications at VisitBritain, said:
“As one of the first experiences that a visitor has when arriving from overseas, it is vital that our airports are able to provide a warm welcome and show our new guests what it is that makes a trip to the UK so special. Having images throughout Stansted that shows what can be found across Britain helps us to highlight all that is GREAT about the country as we look to significantly increase the number of people coming here each year.”