London Stansted Airport has renewed its desire to host more long-haul flights. Following the collapse of Primea last year, Emirates is the airport’s main long-haul operator. The airport believes it has the potential for huge demand.
Just over a year ago (19th September 2018) I reported that Stansted Airport representatives were present at Routes Online’s annual routes conference. Here they announced plans to launch direct services to at least 25 new long-haul destinations in the next 5 years. This year’s World Routes conference is taking place in Adelaide, Australia. Stansted Airport has renewed its case for long haul flights at this year’s conference, giving a sense of Deja Vu.
Current long haul operations
Emirates is currently London Stansted’s main long-haul operator. The airline currently offers two flights a day to Stansted, both using the Boeing 777. With Emirates flying to three London airports, it is little surprise that London accounts for around 25% of the airline’s capacity.
Until its collapse in October of last year, Primera Air was also using London Stansted Airport as a hub for long-haul low-cost flights. The airline flew to destinations including Washington and New York from Stansted Airport.
Moving forwards, London Stansted would like to become more of a long-haul hub. While Heathrow and Gatwick are both looking to increase their capacities, Stansted currently has excess capacity. This would make the airport the perfect choice for any airline that is looking for a quick London launch, after all, Heathrow slots can go for millions.
The only downside to London Stansted is its location. The Airport is a 45-minute train ride from central London, compared to 15-minutes from Heathrow, and 30-minutes from Gatwick. As such, it could be viewed as a less favourable airport for London passengers, however, Stansted is strategically placed having a fairly impressive catchment area.
What’s that about a catchment area?
According to Stansted Airport, 50% of searches for “flights to top locations” originate from within the airport’s catchment area. In fact, according to the airport “61.2% of all UK searches for Business and First-class flight tickets to New York” originated within its catchment area.
This is something that Nino Judge, CEO of startup flypop is all too aware of. flypop intends to launch direct low-cost services from London Stansted to Amritsar and Ahmedabad in India. Earlier in the year Judge tells me that the route from London has approximately 200,000 passengers per year. However, there is no direct link between the two.
Do you think more long-haul flights should use London Stansted? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!