Stansted Airport Is Slowly Becoming London’s 3rd Long-Haul Hub

London Stansted Airport has a reputation for being London’s low-cost hub. However, as slot constraints continue to impact other London’s airports, Stansted is slowly redefining itself as a long-haul hub.

London, Stansted Airport, Long Haul
London Stansted Airport is slowly gaining more long-haul routes. Photo: London Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport has, for quite a while, been regarded primarily as a low-cost hub. The third busiest London airport is also one of the furthest from the city center. However, airlines are increasingly looking at the airport to add long haul routes. Possibly indirectly due to its location, Stansted has something that both Heathrow and Gatwick lack; an abundance of available slots.

London is a popular city for air carriers. In fact, according to 2018 statistics, the aviation hub was the busiest city on the planet by passenger numbers. Across all of its airports combined, the city handled 177 million passengers. This is 35 million more than New York which holds a firm second place.

However, catering to all of these passengers also has a downside. That downside is capacity. Take Heathrow Airport as an example. The slot restricted airport operates at capacity with a strict ‘use it or lose it’ system regarding its slots.

London, Stansted Airport, Long Haul
Last week saw Air India launch its new route to London Stansted from Mumbai. Photo: London Stansted Airport

As slots are in such high demand, if they aren’t being used they will be taken away. However, airlines also have the option to sell their slots before they lose them. In these cases, they can sell for incredible amounts, given their high demand.

Stansted has capacity

However, until Heathrow’s third runway is built, the airport is unable to accommodate more flights. London Stansted, however, has much more flexibility here. As such, the airport has recently seen an influx of full-service long-haul carriers.

Emirates used to be the sole long-haul carrier at London Stansted, with a twice-daily flight to Dubai. This is beginning to change now, as the number of long-haul carriers increases. Air India now operates two routes to Stansted. These are flown by the 787 Dreamliner from Amritsar and Mumbai.

London, Stansted Airport, Long Haul
Additionally, when visiting London Air Force one always uses London Stansted Airport. Photo: London Stansted Airport

El Al also announced a limited time route from Tel Aviv to accompany that offered by Arkia. Finally, late last week Air Senegal announced flights to the Essex aviation hub from Dakar. These services, operated by the Airbus A321, will commence on the 26th of June 2020.

Over the past two years, Stansted Airport has been trying to attract more long-haul routes. In fact, in 2018 the airport announced plans to launch direct services to at least 25 new long-haul destinations in the next five years. Now, the airport is making steady progress toward this goal. Who knows how many long haul routes will operate from Stansted by the time the five years is up.

Which routes would you like to see added from Stansted? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!