Stansted Airport owner sets out case for cutting rail journey times

The managing director of Stansted Airport, Andrew Harrison.

The managing director of Stansted Airport, Andrew Harrison. - Credit: Archant

THE new owner of Stansted Airport has highlighted the need for faster rail links reform of the UK’s Air Passenger Duty (APD) regime.

In a submission to the Airports Commission, Manchester Airports Group (MAG) says that a cut in APD and a 30-minute train journey time to and from London will help make better use of spare capacity at Stansted, pending any long-term development of extra runway capacity at Heathrow or elsewhere.

Stansted managing director Andrew Harrison said: “Stansted has substantial spare capacity across the day, which gives us the potential over the next 10 to 15 years to grow and compete strongly to win traffic from other airports.

“This will provide much needed breathing space in the London system, improving UK connectivity and delivering significant economic benefits.

“Key to unlocking this potential is improving surface rail access to Stansted, critically making rail journey times competitive with other main London airports.

“A 30 minute journey time would not only put Stansted on an equal footing but we also encourage significantly more passengers to choose Stansted over other London airports, helping relieve pressure on busier airports and making best use of existing capacity.”

MAG’s submission also calls for moves to explore reforms that would make more effective use of the scarce capacity at Heathrow and improve the allocation of demand around the London system, for the promoting de-regulation as a way to strengthen competition between the London airports and encourage investment, and for further liberalisation of bilateral policy to open up capacity to overseas airlines.

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Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, said: “The Airports Commission’s interim report provides an opportunity for the UK to make a firm statement about the future of economic growth in the country.

“We have watched other countries develop their aviation infrastructure for the benefit of their economies and we have the opportunity to do the same.

“With new runway capacity unlikely to be available for at least 10 to 15 years, it is critical that airports and Government do everything possible to make the best use of capacity that already exists.

“MAG airports have a big role to play in providing improved connectivity for the whole of the UK, and our submission outlines the steps the Government needs to take to help achieve this goal.”