Recorded at CAPA Low Cost Long Haul Global Summit, 4-5 Oct 2018

London Stansted CEO Update – One Of Europe’s Major Airports For Short-Haul LCC Operations Casts Its Eye On Low Cost Long Haul

Ken O’Toole, chief executive officer, London Stansted Airport, highlights how the short haul LCC foundations at both London Stansted and Manchester airports could support their role in the emerging Low Cost Long Haul market, with Stansted’s catchment, available capacity and location making it a particularly attractive proposition.


Ken O'TooleMAG, through Manchester and Stansted, has significant experience with low-cost carriers. A lot of our biggest carriers are low-cost. A lot of the airline people that we have working for us are ex-airline people themselves. So, you know, we have a strong foundation in low-cost. When you look at the growth potential of low-cost, when you look at the available capacity in the U.K., particularly at London Stansted for London, and at Manchester with its two runways that we already have up there, you know, we have the history, the integrity, but also, the capacity to accommodate low-cost growth going forward in the long-haul market.

Well, if you look at Stansted, we're on the verge of investing 600 million pounds in the terminal facilities at the airport. Stansted by its inherent design has been designed for the biggest of all aircraft, the A380 capability. Obviously, with Emirates started this summer with the Travel 7, so, in terms of the actual changes that we have to make to the infrastructure, very little. In terms of the changes that we are making to improve the customer experience, 600 million pounds obviously is a huge investment which will radically improve the customer experience, but also allow us to unlock the capacity that we have available on our single runway at Stansted.

Emirates is a good example of just the point-to-point demand for Dubai, from the east of England and east of London. You know, people don't want to have to travel around the M25 to travel from Heathrow, and the success of Emirates' services has demonstrated that. You know, when we look at a catchment demand, there are 25 to 30 long-haul routes where we know there is an underlying demand for direct services from Stansted.

Look, Stansted history obviously has a very strong foundation in low-cost traffic. That does not necessarily mean poor value, and that's what I would actually present Stansted as. We offer fantastic value to all airlines, whether they be low-cost carriers, or someone like Emirates. So, again, when I look at the investment program and building on what we have, you know, the ability to have a fantastic terminal experience, have segregated pier facilities, which we have in Stansted, with three different piers, we can cater for different demands.

I would say Stansted is very much a London airport. Fifty percent of the traffic that comes to and from Stansted is destined to London. London is the biggest aviation market in the world. Stansted is the only airport in London with available capacity to support the strategic growth of airlines. That's happening already. Stansted is the fastest-growing airport in the U.K. for the last two years. It is the fastest-growing airport in London this year by quite some considerable margin, and we estimate that Stansted is going to deliver 50 percent of all of London's traffic load over the next 10 years.

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