Stansted Airport Overview
London Stansted Airport (STN/EGSS) is the third busiest airport that serves the city. It is a major hub for low-cost air carriers that operate a multitude of destinations, mainly in Europe. Originally a military airport, today Stansted is ranked the fourth aerodrome in the UK by passenger turnover, trailing only Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.
Stansted is located at the border between the counties of Essex and Hertfordshire and lies under the jurisdiction of the local government district of Uttlesford. The airport is situated approximately 30 miles northeast from Central London.
The RAF quickly recognized the advantages of the large flat lawns outside the small sleepy village of Stansted Mountfitchet during the World War II. Strategically situated in the north-eastern outskirts of London it provided the perfect pinpoint for mounting air raids against Western Germany and the Nazi positions in Normandy. The airfield was officially commissioned on August 7th 1943 and immediately became the home of the 30th Air Depot Group. Later that year the Ninth Air Force arrived in Stansted. As the preparations for operation Overlord (the Normandy assault) intensified, so grew the importance in status of Stansted. In February 1944 the 344th Bombardment Group arrived from Georgia, US as a preliminary measure for the oncoming invasion.
With the conquest of Normandy and most of northwestern France the bombardment wings moved on the continent, but Stansted remained a major air depot and repair station for the RAF. After the end of the War the airport housed a camp for German POW but the tides were turning towards commercial and civic use. In 1949 the Air Ministry finally took over the control of the airport and apart from a brief American visit to assess the possibility for a NATO air base, Stansted was never again used for military purposes.
By the end of the 1960s Stansted had gained the reputation of the cheaper option for low-cost holiday companies that could not afford the steep fees of Heathrow and Gatwick. The increasing air traffic convinced the UK government and the London authorities that the capital would soon need a third airport that could relieve the future congestion of Heathrow and Gatwick. Ironically Stansted did not make the shortlist at first, but in 1969 the airport was picked as the final choice and the construction of the first terminal building began soon afterwards. In 1984 the passenger output was officially limited to 25 million passengers per year, a quota that was nearly reached in the 2006-2008 period.
Much like Gatwick, Stansted is dominated by low-cost air carriers that operate mainly European destinations. This is visible from the breakdown of the top 20 destinations of the airport – all of them are European. The top 3 is occupied by Dublin, Rome and Bergamo and the appearance of airports like Madrid, Barcelona, Edinburgh and Lisbon are hardly a surprise – after all Stansted still retains its reputation as a holiday starting point.
Getting to Stansted
There is a multitude of options to reach Stansted from London or nay of the main towns in close proximity.
- Stansted Express runs to and from Liverpool Street Station in London.
- Railroad connections to Birmingham, Cambridge, Peterborough and Leicester.
There are multiple scheduled express busses that include:
- To and from Stratford (45 minutes);
- Victoria Coach Station (75 minutes);
- Liverpool Street Station (55 minutes);
- Golders Green (70 minutes);
- JL737 from Oxford to Stansted;
- Hourly services to and from Cambridge;
- EasyBus lines to and from Central London.
Drive to Stansted by car
- Interconnections with London and Cambridge by the M11 motorway;
- Connection to Braintree, Colchester and Harwich by the A120 junction.
- Stansted has 2500 short-term and 8000 long-term parking space lots.
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