Stansted, London’s third airport, always seemed destined for greater things
Architects Foster and Partners saw the brown field site as an opportunity to build a new kind of airport.
They created a magnificent airy glass structure with a ‘floating’ roof and an ergonomic layout that would make life less of a hassle for passengers.
Stansted was designed to recapture the lost glamour of air travel. It would be grand international gateway to London and the South East.
Instead, in its first twenty years, Stansted became London’s Cinderella airport, dominated by low-cost carriers focussed on short-haul routes.
London’s airport capacity crisis (in the news again this week as the Institute of Directors warns the squeeze will damage growth) may be about to change Stansted’s fortunes. On Monday, The Times (£) reported that Mayor Boris Johnson is now considering massive expansion at Stansted as an alternative to proposals for a new-build Boris Island airport in the Thames Estuary.
A Stansted ‘superhub’ could be the compromise solution that gives London the capacity it needs without the massive capital investment implied by Boris Island. According to The Times, the Mayor will submit the results of a £3m feasibility study into Stansted expansion to Sir Howard Davies’s enquiry.
It’s good to have another option to expanding Heathrow on the table. But any development at Stansted is likely to face strong opposition from local residents. SSE (Stop Stansted Expansion) has been in business since 2002 and is an effective campaigner. By bringing Stansted into the frame, the Mayor is opening a new front in the PR battle.