Government plans for the future of air transport in the UK will result in major expansion at Stansted airport.
The 2003 White Paper The Future of Air Transport included a proposal to build up to three new runways at the airport, although it is unlikely that anything more than a single additional runway will be built.
Stansted Airport is owned and operated by BAA, a private company that owns 7 UK airports and has interests in other airports outside of the UK. Any expansion of Stansted or any other airport has to be planned and financed by BAA.
Some of BAA's expansion plans have already been given planning permission, such as increasing passenger numbers from 25m to 35m, enlarging the existing terminal, additional aircraft stands and extensions to cargo handling facilities.
A planning application for a new runway is currently on hold after planning permission was refused by Uttlesford District Council and then referred to a Public Enquiry following an appeal. However, the public enquiry has been put back until BAA's continued ownership of the airport has been resolved after The Competition Commision order that BAA sell the airport.
If the new runway is given the go-ahead, the earliest estimated opening date is 2017.
All expansion at the airport has to be paid for by BAA. The government has said that it will not provide any financial support. As well as funding the runway, BAA will also have to seek planning permission, as well as facing legal action from organisations that oppose the runway, such as local authorities and even airlines.
BAA cannot raise landing charges at Stansted following a ruling from the Civil Aviation Authority that caps the charges for the next five years. In addition, funds cannot be raised by increasing charges at other airports as the CAA prohibits cross-subsidies.
To read more about the Government Consultation on The Future Development of Air Transport visit www.airconsult.gov.uk.
The article was last updated on Monday 27th September 2009