Stansted touchdown for Raiders

THE famous Raiderette cheerleaders from the Oakland Raiders American Football team put in an appearance at Stansted Airport last week - in paint rather than in person.

THE famous Raiderette cheerleaders from the Oakland Raiders American Football team put in an appearance at Stansted Airport last week - in paint rather than in person.

A striking image of three Raiderettes features on an Air Asia X Airbus A340 which had become the second jet on its Stansted-Kuala Lumpur route - enabling the key service to operate on a daily basis.

The route, first launched in March this year, offers opportunities for low-cost onward travel from Kuala Lumpur to destinations across the Far East and Australia.

The livery for the new plane, dubbed “Xcellence”, reflects a recent deal between Air Asia at the leading NFL side to help promote both brands to a global audience.

Nick Barton, Stansted's commercial and development director, said: “AirAsia X's service between Stansted and Kuala Lumpur has been a fantastic success story so far, and the arrival of this striking new aircraft will enable them to go from strength to strength by offering flights every day of the week from now on.

“This is a great boost for everyone connected with the airport, and a real vote of confidence by AirAsia X in Stansted as it demonstrates we are delivering the high levels of service they demand from us.

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“And it's even better news for our passengers and the region as it provides even greater choice and opportunity, and proves that demand between Stansted, Europe's point-to-point airport of choice for low-cost travel, and AirAsia's Kuala Lumpur hub and onward connections to Australia, China and India remains strong despite the current challenging economic conditions,” he said.

“I fully expect 'Xcellence' to be the talk of Stansted whenever it's at the airport - I'm sure its very eye-catching livery will ensure we all become big fans of the Raiders, too!”

Stansted also added a new destination last week with the start of a four flights a week service to the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, operated by Star 1 Airlines.

Mr Barton added: “We're also delighted to welcome Star 1 Airlines to the airport and wish them every success as they, for the first time, connect Stansted to Vilnius. This will be the only service operating between the London area and Vilnius, and I'm sure the flights will prove to be very popular with our passengers, both here in the UK and in Lithuania.”

n A geological phenomena has caused Stansted Airport to undertake the unusual task of renaming its 3,000 metre runway.

Small changes in the position of the Earth's magnetic field has meant the airport's single runway, previously known as 23/05 because of its location and compass heading, becoming 22/04.

Trevor Waldock, Stansted's head of airside operations, said: “We've had to make this change due to the Magnetic North Pole slowly drifting on the Earth's surface but our runway remains in a fixed position. It'll roughly be another 56 years before we have to consider changing it again.”

He added:

The project, which took place at night when operational requirements were at a minimum, was completed on Sunday and included the replacement of all airfield signage and the repainting of the huge numbers at each end of the runway.

“I would like to thank all those staff who have worked tirelessly over the past few months to successfully deliver this challenging project at one of the busiest single runway airports in the world,” added Mr Waldock.