It looks as though Stansted Airport is once again going to be the centre of attention thanks to Boris Johnson’s gripe with the government’s aviation policies. Following his earlier push to build a new airport in the Thames Estuary, he has now called for the building of a second runway at Stansted as a short term solution. He has also suggested extending the £14.8 billion Cross-rail scheme (intended to link Heathrow to the City of London) to Stansted.
A BAA spokesman was skeptical about the idea though, saying, “Stansted is a great airport with a superb record for punctuality. But building a new runway at Stansted will not solve the UK’s hub airport capacity crisis.
“Stansted has plenty of spare capacity already – airlines could relocate their operations from Heathrow to Stansted tomorrow and save millions of pounds in the process. All a second runway at Stansted would achieve would be to increase the amount of spare capacity there.’’
Unsurprisingly, Carol Barbone, Stop Stansted Expansion campaign director, was also unimpressed with Mr Johnson’s suggestion, saying that it would be “a permanent disaster environmentally.”
Echoing BAA, she said, “Stansted’s existing runway is only operating at half its permitted capacity. If the market was interested in expanding at Stansted we would be seeing increasing passenger numbers rather than the month-on-month declines we have seen for the past five years.”
Stansted’s head of media relations, Mark Davidson, had this to say: ““Our focus is to drive growth at Stansted on a single runway. We have already called on Government to make significant improvements to the rail links to help create jobs and growth and allow Stansted to win new passengers and airlines. In doing this, we can continue to support the international trading links upon which the UK’s future social and economic prosperity depends.”
What are your thoughts?