March 2021 marks the 30th year anniversary for Stansted Airport since it’s opening in 1991. It’s been a long time since the conception of the airport and the pandemic has made those days of carefree travel seem even more distant – but it is still a cause for celebration!
Boasting a rich history, Stansted Airport may have only opened in 1991 but it’s operations have been running for more than 81 years. The first terminal dates back to 1942 and was involved in the major D-day bombings, helping military air force lead more than 600 craft over the beaches of France. Fast forward 40 years and Stansted was just starting construction on it’s new airport in 1986 – at the time the government enquiry accepted the construction on the grounds of bringing in 15 million passengers yearly. That number has grown over the years since it’s conception, with more than 100 million passengers passing through its gates in 2018. While the airport is now home to a wide range of carriers and crafts, some of its very first flights consisted of domestic services running to Glasgow as well as some Air France flights across the border. Though the airport is known for its passenger and commercial travel above all, it is worth remembering that they also hold special importance for their involvement with the Air Force One and security airspace divisions. Its runways have seen Boeing-747s carrying space shuttles to assist Air Force One while also serving as the designated point for terrorist-diversion related incidents in airspace.
While its reputation as a low-cost airport has made it popular among travellers, COVID and subsequent lockdowns have taken its toll. Passenger levels have dipped dramatically during the pandemic, sometimes even down to double digits. However, with a lockdown exit plan starting to take shape the airport is confident it will be able to get back to its post-COVID numbers – and predicts that there will an uptake in the number of travellers once overseas travel is given the greenlight. The 30th anniversary of Stansted then comes as a bittersweet celebration but the airport is hopeful that bigger and better is yet to come. They may not be able to celebrate properly this month or welcome passengers back immediately, but they are on a road to recovery. Steve Griffiths, Stansted’s managing director, cited this cause for hopeful celebration in his comment to the press:
“We can’t wait to welcome back our passengers to begin the next 30 years of Stansted’s story, and we are confident the airport has a very bright and successful future once people are able to start planning for their well-deserved getaways.”
© Whitestone Chambers