Stansted Airport's commercial director is wooing airlines across the globe
Route development is always a hot topic at London Stansted, whether we're celebrating the hugely successful first six months of Emirates' Dubai service, welcoming first-time connections like Pobeda's St Petersburg route, or seeing airlines add new, exciting destinations.
I wanted to share some insight into the year-round work of the commercial team in constantly improving and innovating around the airport experience and how we showcase this to airlines.
We are investing heavily into the development of the airport. Hundreds of millions of pounds are going into building new facilities and our service offering, to transform the airport into a 21st century leading airport of the world.
This investment all comes from a vision of being pioneering. We want to do things differently so that we can better address passenger needs. We are looking at this from every single level, not just making sure the fundamentals are in place, but we want to offer an experience that is different, innovative, seamless and simple.
The region in which we sit is one of the fastest-growing in the UK, particularly as a hub for technology and life sciences. I see London Stansted as a gateway to the further growth of the region, and we need to develop as a gateway to best meet the region's demands and – as the first port of call for visitors coming in – be an impressive 'shop front' for London and the East of England.
Wouldn't it be great to be known as an interesting, innovative airport for customers to fly into, where they have an enjoyable experience that shouts out about the region? To enable the region's passengers to fly anywhere in the world, eliminating the need to traipse for hours round the M25 to be able to fly to North America, India, the Far East, to Africa? And to be able to welcome people from those countries to come and experience our region as well? That's the ultimate vision.
So we are out there, all year round, talking to airlines and sharing our ambitions. Whether it is the World Route Development Forum which took place in China last month, or the many smaller, more regional airline conferences not usually attended by airports, we are taking every opportunity to speak to potential new partners about Stansted's aims and future development.
I have no doubt there are many opportunities for airlines here. Emirates started services in June and by all accounts they are doing fantastically well selling not just to Dubai but into destinations across the Far East, Australasia and more. Emirates works because they do it right and I think any airline that comes here and does it right will succeed.
We are talking to airlines all the time, not just new ones but our existing partners as well, because we want them to succeed. We are of course talking to North American carriers, and have had a lot of positive interest, again highlighting our innovative approach when we speak to them. We bring them over here, show them around the airport and demonstrate how easy it is to operate into Stansted - something airlines are not always aware of.
And our job is to raise that awareness using data to back us up. We have some exciting, unique partnerships in progress which I hope to share very soon, providing us with extensive data which will give us, and airlines, the confidence to develop proven, in-demand routes.
Beyond North American carriers, we are furthering talks with airlines serving India and the Far East, developing the long-haul relationships and networks across the board. It's a long game, because when you're talking about long-haul, the radius becomes quite wide. For an airline it isn't just Stansted versus Heathrow or Gatwick, it could be London versus Sao Paolo, Europe versus South America before you even get to the 'local' detail of which London airport.
So, as we move through the winter season we will continue to work on these budding relationships we're developing. We will also keep pushing on with our innovative new partnerships and some other exciting new technological developments we can't wait to reveal.