Unite backs controversial plans to expand Stansted Airport

An aerial view of Stansted Airport. Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

An aerial view of Stansted Airport. Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT - Credit: Archant

A powerful union has put its weight behind controversial plans to expand passenger numbers at Stansted Airport.

Unite, which represents more than 2,000 workers there, said it was “crucial” it was allowed to grow.

Writing in advance of a crunch Uttlesford district council planning meeting on Wednesday, November 14, when a bid to raise a cap on passenger numbers from 35m to 43m will be discussed, Unite’s Stansted convenor Danise Smith said the union was committed to working with owner Manchester Airports Group to support investment and growth.

“The continued growth and success of London Stansted is important to Unite, not just in meeting demand for air travel and global connectivity, but also as a major employer and export ‘gateway’. It is crucial that London Stansted is allowed to continue to grow in a sustainable way in order to allow people, goods and services to enter and exit the country safely and efficiently,” she said.

“In doing so, I would note that, importantly, the airport does not seek to grow out of its current environmental limits.”

Unite regional officer Mark Barter said: “We are backing Stansted because it is good for the business, the wider regional economy and for the passengers, but, most importantly, from a Unite perspective, it heralds strong growth in employment and secure jobs in the years ahead.”

Unite deputy regional secretary Vince Passfield said: “We need to look at Stansted’s expansion in the context of a joined-up airports’ policy for London and the south east.

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“The lifting of the passenger cap is important given the vital need for additional runway capacity to meet the continued growth in the aviation sector.

“If the UK does not grasp the nettle which has dogged politicians and policy makers for the last 50 years, the country will lose out to European rivals, such as Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, in terms of international trade and tourism.”