The LEP has backed Stansted Airport's call for businesses from across the East of England to work together to deliver direct long-haul services from the airport as it kicks off a major market study of long distance flying from the region.
Stansted recently announced plans to contact over 300 of the region’s top companies to develop a detailed picture of their travel requirements which will provide a base of evidence to show airlines the strong demand for business travel within the region and the opportunities that exist to serve these routes from Stansted.
The study will focus on companies in the East of England that currently rely on air links to the USA, Middle East, Far East and other emerging markets but currently have to travel from other London airports to access those markets. It will also ask businesses to declare their support for similar services if they were to operate from Stansted.
Over 46 million journeys are made each year by people living within Stansted’s catchment but only 12 million of those flights are actually from the airport itself. Of the remaining 34 million flights, around 6 million are flying long-haul to and from the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australasia, and 4.6 million passengers take flights to and from North America.
Local Enterprise Partnership Deputy Chair Peter O’Gorman said: “As one of four airports on Hertfordshire’s doorstep, Stansted has an important role to play in the county’s future. We support Stansted’s efforts to increase the number of long haul routes available from the airport. These plans open up exciting new markets to Hertfordshire firms.”
Andrew Harrison, Stansted’s Managing Director, said:
“Businesses tell us again and again that they want Stansted to offer a network of long-haul routes that will connect them with their key customers and markets. Stansted serves an economic region that is strong and growing, reflecting the competitiveness of the businesses located here. We need to demonstrate this strength of demand to airlines who are not currently serving Stansted.
“When airlines assess the market for a new route, specific information about the potential customer base is extremely valuable. Stansted should be towards the top of many airlines’ lists for new services and we want to make sure they have detailed information on their potential customers to help them make that decision.
“This study will pinpoint the opportunities for airlines to serve long-haul demand directly from the areas closest to Stansted. Armed with this information, we can work with airlines to bring these services here.
“So we’re calling on businesses in the region to work with us to share information about where they fly to because, together with our £80m investment programme to transform the terminal, this really will make the difference in bringing long-haul services to Stansted.”
Harriet Fear, CEO of One Nucleus, the organisation for international life science and healthcare companies based in Cambridge and London, said:
“One Nucleus is in close touch with the senior team at Stansted about their plans for the future. We recently held a meeting for the team to meet with our members to discuss the life science and healthcare sectors' business needs in the region. In my view a top priority has to be the introduction of a direct flight from Stansted to the USA - at least to the East coast – and we’d strongly encourage companies in the region to work with the airport to make these routes a reality.”
Greg Clark, Chairman of the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium, said:
“The London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor is poised for unprecedented growth over the next decade. The mix of highly clustered growth sectors such as life sciences, hi-tech and clean energy desperately need international connectivity to key markets in North America and Asia in order to flourish and compete with global rivals. I urge businesses in the Corridor and the wider region to speak up and help the new team at Stansted Airport build a strong business case to make long-haul destinations a reality from Stansted.”