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Stansted Airport education centre Aerozone reopens to schoolchildren after 20-month shutdown



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Stansted Airport’s award-winning education centre has welcomed schoolchildren for the first time in almost 20 months.

The Aerozone hosted 24 pupils from Newport primary last Wednesday (Nov 24) after closing in March 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the day, children participated in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities, learned about the history of the airport and heard from firefighters, security officers and airline crew about career opportunities at the airport.

Nick Millar, operations director, and Alex Smith, education co-ordinator, with Mille and Harley from Newport Primary School
Nick Millar, operations director, and Alex Smith, education co-ordinator, with Mille and Harley from Newport Primary School

Stansted’s operations director, Nick Millar, made a surprise visit to welcome the first school back through the doors.

He said: “We’re delighted to be reopening the Aerozone after restrictions prevented us from sharing this fantastic facility with our visitors.

“Having our first school party back enjoying the activities at the centre is such a significant milestone for the airport as the Aerozone forms such an integral part of our relationship and interaction with the local community.

Since it opened in 2015, the Aerozone has welcomed over 17,000 visitors
Since it opened in 2015, the Aerozone has welcomed over 17,000 visitors

“Over the last 18 months, the aviation industry has undoubtedly faced its toughest period, and many aspects of our work and daily life have been changed quite dramatically, but the Aerozone remains our flagship community project here at Stansted and represents a long-term commitment to our community.”

Mr Millar added: “Our recovery has been encouraging as customer confidence grows, and continuing our work to inspire the next generation to consider the varied apprenticeships and career opportunities within aviation by visiting the Aerozone, particularly those living in areas close to the airport, is a vital part of our community work.”

Molly-May Walbanke, a teacher from Newport Primary School, said: “The Aerozone was brilliant; the children enjoyed seeing the planes and doing all the activities.

“The speakers were excellent and inspired the kids to get involved. We are so fortunate that the Aerozone is so close to us.”

Visitors can watch aircraft take off and land from the viewing platform
Visitors can watch aircraft take off and land from the viewing platform

Since its opening in 2015, the Aerozone has welcomed over 17,000 visitors. Airport staff talk to visitors about working at Stansted and careers in aviation. There is also a viewing platform, where they can watch aircraft take off and land, and see some of the jobs that they have learned about in action.

Covid safety measures have been enhanced, including the addition of social distancing signage and sanitising stations. There is also a limit on the number of visitors in each session.

To arrange a school visit, email stn_communityrelations@stansted airport.com.

Easyjet pilot Capt Sarah Smartt taking part in Q&A session with girls from Stansted's Forest Hall School during a UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science event at the Aerozone in 2019. Picture: Vikki Lince
Easyjet pilot Capt Sarah Smartt taking part in Q&A session with girls from Stansted's Forest Hall School during a UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science event at the Aerozone in 2019. Picture: Vikki Lince


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