London Stansted Airport says it will be the fastest growing airport serving the UK capital in 2018 with over 10.8 million airline seats available this summer as it welcomes five new carriers including Primera Air, Emirates and WOW Air.
Expansion is led by a host of new routes starting this summer, resulting in more than 1.2 million extra seats on offer compared to summer 2017.
Stansted said its growth this summer will far outstrip that of all other London airports, with a 12.1 per cent year-on-year increase in demand for runway slots, compared to 1.4 per cent at Heathrow, 2.1 per cent at Gatwick and 3.3 per cent at Luton.
Stansted will welcome five new airlines this season taking the total operating to 22 as Emirates, Primera Air, WOW air, Air Corsica and Widerøe join the network – with new routes ranging from New York, Washington DC, Boston and Toronto to Dubai, Corsica, Reykjavik and Kristiansand (Norway).
Existing carriers will also offer more destinations and increased capacity this summer including Ryanair’s new services to Rimini and Belfast plus Jet2.com’s new routes to Nice, Naples, Malta, Bodrum, Almeria, Thessaloniki, Kefalonia and Verona.
Thomas Cook will operate its long-haul programme to Orlando, Las Vegas and Cancun from July in addition to re-commencing flights to Tunisia.
Flights to key business destinations have also increased and more seats will be available to Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Belfast and Munich.
London Stansted chief executive officer, Ken O’Toole said the more than 10.8 million seats will operate to over 190 destinations, and doubling the number of airlines using the airport since acquisition by MAG.
He added: “With limited spare capacity at other airports in the South East, Stansted will deliver 50 per cent of London’s expected passenger growth over the next decade. Given this anticipated growth, we expect to reach our current planning cap by the early 2020s.
“That why it’s important we plan ahead to ensure we are well prepared for this growth. Last month we applied for permission to raise the number of passengers we serve to 43 million a year, with a firm commitment to do so without any additional flights or noise impacts beyond our current permissions.
“We’ve also begun the first phase of our £600 million investment programme which will provide additional check-in desks, extra seating as well as more car and aircraft parking to cater for increased demand and enhance the passenger experience.
“Through our ambitious route development and investment plans, and with more and more airlines recognising the great opportunity Stansted offers, the airport will make an even greater contribution to improving the UK’s connectivity with the rest of the world.”
Last year, Stansted welcomed 26 million passengers and it is the third largest airport in London behind Heathrow and Gatwick.