Stansted Airport marks 25 years since Queen Elizabeth opened new terminal

Stansted Airport Royal opening in 1991.

Stansted Airport Royal opening in 1991. - Credit: Archant

Stansted Airport is today (Tuesday) celebrating 25 years since its terminal was opened by Queen Elizabeth.

Stansted Ariport infographic.

Stansted Ariport infographic. - Credit: Archant

On March 15, 1991, Her Majesty marked the transformation from a Second World War American air force base into a world class airport with her visit to the new £400million terminal and airfield development.

The first flight, to Glasgow, took off four days later and since then more than 350 million passengers and 3.2 million flight have travelled through the Lord Foster-designed hub.

There have been two extensions to the terminal including a £50m expansion of the arrivals area in 2008 and since MAG took over the airport in 2013, £80m has been invested into a transformation programme and £11m into the Satellite One departure zone.

Stansted now has flights to more than 170 destinations and has 23 million passengers a year, compared to 50 routes and 1.1 million fliers 25 years ago.

Stansted 25 years.

Stansted 25 years. - Credit: Archant


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The airport is staffed by more than 11,600 workers, making it the largest single employment site in the East, and of the 1,400 MAG employees currently at Stansted, more than 100 people have worked their for more than the 25 years.

Andrew Harrison, Stansted’s managing director, said: “The modern Stansted we see today has made an immense contribution in helping transform the aviation landscape in the UK and Europe through access to affordable and convenient air travel.

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“Stansted has always been recognised for its world class airport infrastructure and iconic terminal design, but it’s the significant role as a major London airport competing for passengers and attracting new airlines during a period when the sector has dramatically changed and evolved that really marks out what Stansted has delivered over the past 25 years.”

He added: “Stansted is now firmly established as a leading European airport, a true international gateway and home to some of the world’s most successful airlines, such as Ryanair and Easyjet.

“Building on these excellent foundations, we have recently completed an £80m investment project to reinvigorate and update the terminal, and following MAG’s acquisition we have added over five million passengers in three years to once again make Stansted one of the UK’s fastest growing airports.

“It’s great to look back and acknowledge past achievements and the progress we have made but with passenger numbers growing rapidly and Stansted already the busiest single terminal airport in the UK, we are now focusing on what developments and investments we need in the future to keep pace with demand, a future that promises to be just as exciting and as fast moving as the past 25 years.”

Sir Alan Haselhurst, Saffron Walden MP, said: “While an international airport is not universally seen as the most comfortable of neighbours, it would be churlish not to offer congratulations to everyone involved as Stansted marks its 25th year in the iconic terminal.

“Under the management of Manchester Airports Group, Stansted has become more user friendly and more community friendly.

“I commend its initiative in the field of education and training through its Aerozone education centre. I welcome the support given towards improving rail services. It is the biggest employer in the constituency by far and the increasing number of flight options it offers is gaining wider appreciation.”

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