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London’s STN to Compete with Heathrow and Gatwick for Long-Haul Market

London’s STN to Compete with Heathrow and Gatwick for Long-Haul Market
Jackie Reddy

The operational base for Ryanair, airport bosses at Stansted think that the carrier could help STN become a transit hub for long-haul flights.

London Stansted Airport (STN) is vying with the city’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports for trans-Atlantic business. Located northeast of London in the English county of Essex, STN serves as the operational base for low-cost carrier Ryanair and bosses at the airport believe that the airline could serve as a kind of connector service for long-haul destinations.

Andrew Cowan, the airport’s chief executive, was forthright in his opinion that STN could serve as a funnel for long-haul traffic. “Heathrow is full, Gatwick is pretty much full, if anyone wants to grow in London we’ve got the capacity to make that happen,” he told the Independent.

Ryanair, which serves over 30 countries across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, has recently reintroduced or launched several new routes from STN, many of which will commence service this summer.

In addition to these new routes, Ryanair is also looking to add a daily service to a number of French destinations, including Dinard, Nice, and Bordeaux.

All told, the airline now offers service to 140 destinations from STN and David O’Brien, Ryanair’s chief commercial officer, thinks that there could be room for further expansion. “It wouldn’t at all surprise me that several long-haul airlines would be interested in tapping into our European network [at Stansted]. It’s pretty blindingly obvious if you ask me,” he said.

However, before it can offer a good connecting service to long-haul destinations, STN will need to work on its baggage transfer facilities, something it currently lacks as a point-to-point airport. Both Cowan and O’Brien affirmed that these facilities would be in place for transferring passengers.

But despite the potential for expansion, 2017 won’t be without its challenges for STN. Ryanair has confirmed that its growth would suffer as a result of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) and O’Brien has said that the carrier’s expansion in the U.K. would fall from 15 percent in 2016 to just seven percent in 2017.

[Photo: Getty Images]

View Comments (2)


  1. gbs1112

    January 16, 2017 at 6:09 am

    STN has one other problem,not mentioned. It has really poor transport into London. The Stansted Express is slow, poor quality and there is no talk and not much hope of upgrading it.

  2. Sydneyberlin

    January 17, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Exactly- like Gatwick, it’s out in the sticks. But after the disastrous Brexit decision and the ongoing hostilities against the rest of Europe, the traffic gridlock at LHR will soon be over: Hardly anyone wants to come here anymore!

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