British Airways commences summer-only services from Stansted

British Airways has announced its first flights from Stansted Airport, with all the summer sun destinations fully booked for this weekend.

Holiday travellers have a choice of four popular summer destinations – Faro in Portugal and Malaga, Palma and Ibiza in Spain from Saturday, with flights to Berlin launching in June. In addition, the frequency of flights to Malaga has been doubled to two flights every Saturday during August to meet customer demand. Fares start from £49 each way based on a return fare with hand baggage only, inclusive of all taxes, fees and charges.

Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ general manager commercial and customer at BA CityFlyer, said: ‘This is a great start to our Stansted operation with customers quick to book our inclusive competitive fares with an excellent schedule and the choice of some of the most popular summer destinations.

‘We are really looking forward to working with Stansted and giving our customers the choice of flying with British Airways from a fourth London Airport.’

Andrew Cowan, Stansted’s CEO, said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted that every seat on the first ever British Airways flights from Stansted completely sold out this weekend. We were confident these new services to Faro, Malaga, Palma and Ibiza would prove popular with passengers and this really positive start is a clear demonstration of the strength of demand that exists across the region.

‘We now look forward to welcoming the addition of a new Berlin service next month and working closely with British Airways over the summer to build on this strong start and ensuring these exciting new flights continue to be a great success.’

British Airways is operating from Stansted for the first time – the fourth London airport on its network with the summer-only services running until the end of October. Currently the airline operates from the three other major London Airports, Heathrow, Gatwick and London City.

The Stansted flights are operated by the wholly owned British Airways subsidiary BA CityFlyer on 98-seat Embraer 190 jets. All British Airways flights include a choice of two cabins, Club Europe and Euro Traveller, free on line check-in 24 hours before departure and no debit card charges.

British Airways to commence service from Stansted this summer

British Airways has announced that it will start flying from Stansted this summer, adding a fourth London airport to its network. 

Starting May 28, the airline will commence flights to the holiday destinations of Faro, Malaga, Palma and Ibiza. Fares start from GBP49 each way based on a return fare with hand baggage only, inclusive of all taxes, fees and charges, it said.

The Stansted flights will be operated by the wholly owned British Airways subsidiary BA CityFlyer on new 98-seat Embraer 190 jets, which are usually based at London City Airport.

Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ general manager commercial and customer at BA CityFlyer, said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for us to expand our London network and to give our customers even more choice of where to fly from this summer.

‘Stansted is a growing airport and we will be offering a full scheduled service to some of the most popular European holiday destinations, complementing our existing services from other London airports.’

Stansted MD, Andrew Harrison, said: ‘I am delighted to welcome British Airways to Stansted and very much look forward to the launch of its first ever scheduled flights from the airport in May this year.

‘Since we acquired Stansted, our focus has been on attracting a wider choice of airlines and these new services to Faro, Malaga, Palma and Ibiza are strong additions to our route network, which now covers over 170 destinations across Europe and North America.

‘I’m sure these routes will be very popular with passengers from across London, Cambridge and the growing east of England region who are looking to head off on their holidays. We look forward to working closely with British Airways to build a strong working relationship and ensure these new flights are a huge success.’

British Airways currently operates from the three other major London Airports, Heathrow, Gatwick and London City. All British Airways flights include a choice of two cabins, Club Europe and Euro Traveller, free seat selection and on line check-in 24 hours before departure, complimentary refreshments and drinks on board and no debit card charges.

Disoriented Ryanair passengers cause Stansted delays

There were major delays at Stansted airport yesterday, after passengers disembarking from a Ryanair flight inadvertently entered the airport through a door that had been left open in error.

The passengers, who had arrived from Lisbon, Portugal, on a flight that landed at 9.20am, created confusion that resulted in them having to be processed by departures security before being transferred to arrivals. The unexpected influx interfered with the departures process, causing long delays for passengers arriving at the airport to board flights.

According to a BBC report, the incident is being investigated by the airport authorities.

Despite having drafted in extra staff to deal with the incident, Stansted said that passengers faced ‘long security queues’ and delays of up to an hour on some flights.

Ryanair absolved itself from blame, claiming that its crew had disembarked passengers ‘to the assigned gate.’ A Ryanair spokesman said, ‘The crew of this flight correctly directed disembarking customers to the assigned gate. However, customers entered the airport through a door which had been left open in error.’

‘Ryanair fully cooperated with Stansted airport as it rescreened departing passengers. A number of flights were delayed throughout the day due to earlier issues with de-icing facilities.’

Despite the airport’s assertion that most delays caused by the incident were of little more than an hour, Twitter messages from disgruntled passengers affected by the departure delays suggested that many had been kept waiting for two hours or more before the airport’s staff were able to regain control of the situation.


Loganair announces schedule changes in Dundee/London link

Loganair is planning to change the schedule of its Dundee-London Stansted flights to suit the convenience of business community and regular passengers, the Courier has reported.

Flybe said that its flight partner Loganair, which launched the public service obligation route in March, is introducing the new flight times after extensive consultation with business community and service users, including a passenger survey carried out by Dundee Airport. Almost 90% of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce members who responded to the survey were in favour of the proposed business-friendly time changes, it said.

Accordingly, from January 4 the afternoon north and southbound services will take off later to allow daily passengers longer working days before leaving for the airport. The change will be especially useful for commuters returning to Dundee, it said.

With the traffic congestion on the Stansted airport route, which is more than an hour from central London, commuters have had to begin their journeys by mid-afternoon for checking-in on time for the 6.25pm flights. Starting Sunday, that flight will now leave at 7pm. The corresponding flight from Dundee to Stansted has been moved from 4.25pm to 4.50pm.

Loganair chief operating officer, Phil Preston, said: ‘The amendments to the Dundee-Stansted service are being introduced to increase convenience for business passengers. We consulted extensively with the business community, with the goal of making modifications to the service to further meet their needs and, overall, it has been an extremely useful process.’

Dundee Airport manager, Derrick Lang, said: ‘We welcome Loganair’s decision to introduce a more business-friendly evening schedule in response to feedback from our survey. The later evening departures will ensure that business travellers can make the most of their working day. It’s encouraging that Loganair have listened to local businesses and changed the schedule to suit their needs.

‘Hopefully this will encourage those who haven’t yet tried the service to do so. We will continue to work with Loganair and other partners to promote the route.’

Loganair’s single rotation service on Sundays will also operate the new departure times from Dundee and Stansted.

Stansted to meet UK’s rising air traffic demand, seeks public views on service improvements

London Stansted Airport is expecting to play a key role in meeting the UK air traffic demand over the next 10-15 years, and has sought public opinion and ideas to improve services and facilities.

The move comes as Stansted emerges to be one of the fastest growing airports in London following a 7.2 per cent increase in passenger numbers in the last 12 months. More than two million passengers were handled in August 2014, up 11.6 percent on last year, helping boost the annual number of travellers using Stansted to more than 18.9 million.

Managing director, Andrew Harrison, said: ‘It’s great to see the airport so busy again this summer, thanks to the new routes and increased frequencies offered by our airline partners.

‘Over the last year, Stansted has been the fastest growing airport in London with passenger numbers increasing by over 7% a year, reinforcing our view that Stansted’s existing capacity will make a vital contribution to meeting the demand for air travel over the next 10-15 years.’

According to Harrison, the gateway has the ability to double its current passenger throughout and serve 40-45 million a year on the existing runway.

‘To keep pace with this growth and plan for the future we are investing GBP260 million to transform passenger services and facilities, and just this month we have launched a consultation on how we can develop Stansted and make effective use of the existing capacity on the airport’s single runway.

‘Stansted’s potential for sustainable, responsible and cost-effective growth will be of enormous value as the UK looks to increase global connectivity over the next 10-15 years. We want to hear from all those with an interest in how Stansted grows so I would encourage as many people as possible to share their views and ideas during this process,’ he added.


Stansted airport expansion ‘unwanted and unviable,’ says Essex council

Essex County Council has commented that the plans to expand Stansted Airport into a four-runway ‘super-hub’ were ‘unwanted and unviable,’ according to a report by the BBC.

In July, Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the owners of Stansted Airport, submitted its expansion plans to the government-appointed Airports Commission, headed by former Financial Services Authority chairman, Sir Howard Davies. MAG’s proposal calls for an additional runway that could increase Stansted’s capacity to 70 to 90 million passengers a year, or the building of a GBP10bn ‘hub’ with four runways with a capacity of up to 160 million passengers.

Charlie Cornish, MAG’s chief executive, has said previously that developing Stansted would be a ‘pragmatic approach.’

The airport said the Hub proposal was one of ‘a number of long-term options.’ ‘We can double the number of flights today by 130,000 without any need for significant investment in new infrastructure, and have submitted a number of long-term options for consideration by the Airports Commission,’ an airport spokesperson said.

Council leader, David Finch, has now told the Airports Commission that the super-hub plans were ‘completely unacceptable to Essex residents.’

Finch said: ‘The UK does not have the time or the money to waste on unpractical or undeliverable schemes that could suck up a sum of taxpayer’s money equivalent to twice the UK’s defence budget. Any proposal for a giant super-hub airport at Stansted is completely unacceptable to the council and Essex residents.’

He added: ‘If ministers in London do impose further capacity on our airport, they need to know that a bill comes with that. We would need assurances that the environmental impact would be minimised and that there would be massive investment in road and rail infrastructure for Essex.’

Peter Sanders, Stop Stansted Expansion chairman, has alleged earlier that the MAG proposals had been ‘framed’ in an ‘unenthusiastic, half-hearted way.’ ‘We will be doing everything possible to convince the Airports Commission to reject the idea of any new runways at Stansted,’ he said.

The council has told the commission that it favours ‘sensible growth’ and agrees that additional runway capacity is ‘likely to be inevitable in the long term.’

The Airports Commission will consider MAG’s proposals for Stansted alongside expansion proposals it has received for Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham, and plans for a new airport in the Thames Estuary.

The commission is due to produce a shortlist by the end of the year and will offer its final recommendations in two years’ time.

Ryanair to cut Stansted fares, 7,000 new jobs expected at airport

Irish low-cost airline Ryanair has agreed to cut fares from Stansted airport after reaching a 10-year agreement with Manchester Airport Group, the airport’s new owners, according to a report by the Mirror.

The cheaper flights are part of plans to increase passenger numbers by at least 50 percent to more than 20 million a year by 2023, the budget airline said. The agreement is crucial to MAG, as Dublin-based Ryanair already accounts for 75 percent of Stansted’s business. Ryanair had accused the airport’s previous owners, BAA, of imposing rip-off charges, making the airline less profitable.

Ryanair is also looking to increase passenger traffic at the Essex airport by at least 50 percent, to more than 20 million a year by 2023.

‘We will be cutting our average fares to deliver this. We are the good guys,’ Michael O’Leary reportedly said.

Meanwhile, MAG said that it was in talks with other airlines with regards to introducing long-haul flights from the airport, which presently focuses on short-haul flights to holiday hotspots. According to O’Leary, Stansted’s expansion could create more than 7,000 jobs.

The Stop Stansted Expansion campaign group has however opposed the deal. The Mirror has quoted its economics adviser, Brian Ross, as saying that he failed to ‘understand the business logic’ behind the deal. ‘It will simply entrench Ryanair even deeper as the dominant airline at the airport and reinforce Stansted’s reputation as nothing more than a ‘cheap flights’ airport,’ he said.

He added, ‘When MAG bought Stansted, it said that it wanted to make the airport more broadly based, with more airlines and more destinations. This Ryanair deal, coming on top of the deal MAG did with Easyjet a few months ago, indicates that MAG has so far done exactly the opposite.’

Speaking at the World Low-Cost Airline Congress in London, O’Leary repeated that there is potential growth for a low-cost transatlantic operation.

He said that a transatlantic operation would not follow the no-frills business model adopted by Ryanair’s short- and medium-haul operation, saying that there would be a business-class cabin on the transatlantic services.


Stansted airport to receive £80 million upgrade

Stansted airport in Essex, UK, has today unveiled a £80 million development project.

Mike Davies, the chairman of the airport’s owner, Manchester Airports Group (MAG), was joined by the UK’s transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, and the airport’s managing director, Andrew Harrison, when details of the plan were revealed, which is intended to ‘transform Stansted’s iconic terminal building and meet the demands of modern air travel’.

The upgrade, which has been designed with the help of psychologists in order to minimise passenger stress and maximise relaxation, will involve better use of existing space, new security facilities and a larger departure lounge.

Half of the cost of the project is being funded by MAG, with the additional GBP40 million from commercial partners.

The transport secretary commented, ‘Just three months into its ownership of the airport MAG has shown it is prepared to invest in the infrastructure to improve passenger services and provide new facilities. The millions invested in this project will transform Stansted Airport’s terminal building and the way passengers use it. That’s not just good news for travellers, it’s also good news for the country because this sort of improvement to our transport infrastructure helps to make the UK more competitive in the global economic race.’

Andrew Harrison said, ‘Today marks the start of a significant investment programme to transform the terminal and help deliver our ambitious plans to radically improve Stansted and make it the airport of choice in London for airlines and passengers alike.

‘The way airlines and passengers use the airport has dramatically changed over recent years with far fewer passengers using check-in desks or travelling with hold baggage but spending more time in the departure lounge. This exciting transformation project responds to these changing trends and will create a quicker and more efficient security process and bring some sparkle to what is already a fantastic terminal.

‘Our focus is to provide great service and facilities and put Stansted in the strongest position to compete effectively for new routes, airlines and passengers and this transformation of our terminal is a critical element in achieving this aim and central to our future growth plans for Stansted.’

Easyjet seals Stansted expansion

Easyjet, a low-cost airline based in Luton, UK, has completed a deal with Stansted airport in Essex that will see the airline double its present capacity at the facility.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG), Stansted’s new owners, announced the framework deal today. It will mean that Easyjet’s present throughput of 2.8 million passengers per annum at the airport can be more than doubled to a proposed six million in a gradual process over the next five years. MAG has stated that it hopes the deal will also increase the number of business passengers that use the airport.

Easyjet’s present Stansted operation involves eight aircraft that provide a service to 27 destinations.

Paul Simmons, Easyjet’s UK director, commented, ‘We are pleased to have reached a new deal with the new owners of Stansted which gives us the ability to grow at the London airport.’

Charlie Cornish, chief executive at MAG, said, ‘We are delighted that Easyjet has chosen Stansted. We’re working hard with existing and prospective airlines to drive passenger growth at Stansted so today’s announcement by Easyjet on the new framework for growth is a positive first step.’

The deal between Stansted and Easyjet has been struck at a time when Ryanair, an Ireland-based competitor to Easyjet in the no-frills aviation market, has reduced its own capacity at the airport. Ryanair’s partial withdrawal from the airport – where it has long been the biggest operator – has been precipitated by friction with the airport’s previous management over the level of fees that it charged. Ryanair will be hoping to negotiate a deal with the new owners to enable it to rebuild its capacity.

Stansted comes out fighting for night flights

Stansted Airport, considered to be London’s third airport with Heathrow and Gatwick, has come out strongly in favour of night flights, as a government consultation on the issue is due to conclude this week.

Stansted’s message to the Department for Transport’s consultation on night flying restrictions at London’s three airports is that any cuts to night flights would have a damaging economic affect for the UK, and would only result in airlines moving flights to other airports.

Chris Wiggan, head of public affairs and sustainable development at Stansted, said, ‘As the UK economy improves and passenger and freight movements continue to grow at Stansted, it is vital that government recognises this potential and retains our full night flight quota limit. Whilst we understand that night noise is an important issue for airport communities, a reduction in the limit would have a damaging effect on the UK economy and only serve to transfer movements to airports with greater environmental impacts.

‘Stansted is unique in the southeast as the only airport with a dedicated freight as well as a passenger operation. Over 1,000 people are employed in the freight operation, 500 alone at FedEx’s UK base at Stansted. The speed of delivery that airfreight can offer is an increasingly important factor for many modern businesses, especially where just-in-time practices and high value commodities are concerned.

‘Night flights are not only critical to the express freight industry, they are important for passenger services and support the operations of affordable leisure and long-haul travel. Airlines like Ryanair and easyJet rely on flying in the early and late hours to maximise efficiency of their aircraft to help keep ticket prices down for passengers.

‘It is also vital that any future night flights regime takes into consideration the Airports Commission process and supports airports in making the best use of available runway capacity in the UK over the short and medium term.’

‘It’s essential that government policy strikes the right balance between the economic, environmental and social impacts of aviation. In striking this balance government should take full account of the critical role Stansted airport and night flights play in supporting the growth of the economy, both in our region and the UK as a whole.’

Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick are united in their assertion that the introduction of quieter and more efficient aircraft has had a positive impact on the issue of night flights.