Stansted marks 15th birthday of terminal

IT is 15 years to the day since Stansted Airport's landmark terminal was opened by Her Majesty the Queen.Back in 1991 just 10 scheduled airlines were operating at the former wartime airfield, with 1.

By Roddy Ashworth

IT is 15 years to the day since Stansted Airport's landmark terminal was opened by Her Majesty the Queen.

Back in 1991 just 10 scheduled airlines were operating at the former wartime airfield, with 1.6 million people using the airport.

But last year more than 22 million jetted in and out of Stansted, showing an average growth of 1.3 million passengers per year.


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Yesterday Melvyn Seymour, Stansted's airport duty manager, said he had seen a lot of changes since moving to the new terminal in 1991.

“We have grown rapidly. We have grown to being the third largest airport in the UK in terms of passengers.

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“When we started we had two scheduled destinations and there are 139 now. We have seen various additions to the terminal, and it is a great airport to work in.”

Over the years Mr Seymour said celebrities he had met included Tom Hanks, Madonna, Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Roger Daltrey, The Corrs and Pierce Brosnan.

And last week he met David Beckham and walked him through the terminal. “We had quite a long conversation,” Mr Seymour said.

Stansted's award winning terminal - its glass and steel architecture masterminded by Lord Foster - broke with tradition when it opened.

Designed to be easy on the eye and easy to use, with departures and arrivals all on the same level, the building was planned to give a feeling of space, light and airiness not usually associated with airport buildings.

Its spectacular lightweight roof span - held in place by a series of metal “trees” - allows the building to be lit by natural light. The building is only illuminated by indirect lighting at night, which has led to significant energy savings.

Pipes and ducts for air conditioning, heating, lighting are all housed within the metal 'trees' that rise up within the terminal building and the practise of extracting waste heat from the highly populated commercial areas means the building is virtually self heating for most of the winter period.

Today, Stansted Airport employs around 11,500 people in over 160 companies. And it has controversial plans for expansion.

In 2003, transport secretary Alistair Darling announced that the Essex airport was favoured by the Government for the building of a second runway.

This growth, unpopular to many people living around the airport, would lead to the demolition of many local homes and the need for even more infrastructure - including a new terminal - to be built.

Yesterday local resident Norman Mead, who has been general secretary of the North West Essex and East Herts Preservation Society for 20 years, said he did not believe the expansion was viable.

He said over the last 15 years there had been a number of problems as the airport got bigger.

“It's true that aircraft have got quieter, but it is a matter of increasing frequency. The general feeling is enough is enough.”

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