|With around 26 million passengers using the airport each year – an increase of nearly 10 million passengers compared with five years ago – it was no surprise that future growth was at the top of the agenda and, importantly, how we plan for it.
Since then, I’ve spent much of my time listening to the views of all those with an interest in our future plans. I’ve been able to take a fresh look at our proposed planning application to grow beyond our 35 million passenger limit and use this as an opportunity to reflect on the feedback we received from across the local community at our events in July.
Our neighbours told us that they support growth and investment in the airport facilities and welcome a further increase in destinations and choice. They also told us that they were concerned about the proposal to increase in the number of flights that the airport is permitted to operate each year.
We’ve listened to those concerns and decided to adapt our proposals so growth can be met within the current flights limits.
That means we will now apply to Uttlesford District Council to raise the cap to 43mppa (million passengers a year) – a smaller increase in passenger numbers than originally proposed (44.5mppa). Most importantly this will be achieved without increasing the existing noise limits.
This is an example of community consultation in action – we talked about our plans, we listened and we have amended our proposals accordingly.
We have advised the Council of these changes as we believe these plans provide a better balance between ensuring our future growth and support for the regional economy and the impact on our community. This clarity will also ensure that airlines and business partners have the confidence to continue to invest and grow at Stansted.
We will be holding a series of feedback sessions in key areas in November 2017 to provide further information on our proposals before we submit a final planning application to amend the cap on passenger numbers, most likely in early 2018.
We hope this application will establish the way forward for the airport for the next 10 years. It will enable us to continue to work to make best use of our existing runway, provide more choice and new destinations, more jobs, help us further improve the airport’s facilities and passenger experience and, most importantly, contain our growth within our current environmental limits.