The terminal at London Stansted Airport opened in 1991 and its Foster + Partners design has certainly proved resilient to changes in operation and airline priorities compared to when the building was originally conceived.
However, after 27 years the facility is beginning to show its age, and the airport is about to embark on a major transformation programme that retains the existing terminal at its heart but with more than double the original design capacity and modernised facilities.
MAG acquired London Stansted in 2013 and through investment in the terminal, the signing of growth deals with existing airlines and the further expansion of its route network, it is now the UK’s fastest growing airport. It currently serves around 26 million passenger per annum, and although it is technically equipped to handle up to 35mppa, the latest projections show that it has the potential to quickly supersede this capacity.
It therefore recently submitted a planning application with the local authority to grow passenger numbers at the airport to up to 43mppa to ensure that it is capable of delivering up to 50% of London’s expected passenger growth over the next decade.
The design of the Stansted Transformation project is being led by Pascall+Watson, supported by Ramboll and Mott MacDonald.
Once completed, the transformed terminal complex will reinstate the coherent, spacious feeling of the original building and provide additional footprint for passenger facilities.
First to be delivered will be a new dedicated Arrivals Terminal. This will house all of the arrivals related processes including immigration and baggage reclaim facilities. A new landscaped arrivals plaza will provide space for meeters and greeters, and easy access to onward travel from the terminal.
The new 34,000sqm complex will replace facilities that are currently housed inside the existing terminal building. These existing facilities will then be decommissioned and the resulting free space will allow for an incremental expansion of the departures facilities.
This will feature reconfigured check-in to a ‘shoreline’ arrangement with much needed additional queuing and circulation space. There will be an additional security search area and redesigned departure lounge, commercial space and restaurant facilities.
The key to achieving this transformation will be the delivery of the new Arrivals Terminal as quickly and cleanly as possible. The Pascall+Watson team has worked closely with Stansted Airport Limited to optimise the design and construction process.
Speed of delivery is assisted by the relatively unencumbered nature of the site that has been safeguarded next to the existing terminal.
The construction method of the new building will be optimised for flexibility allowing a number of possible operational configurations within the same, regular footprint, providing long-term operational resilience and future opportunities to amend the layout to meet demand.
Speaking about the airport’s upgrade in May, Stansted’s transformation director, Paul Willis, said: “Over the coming years, the whole landscape of the main terminal will change as we remodel the layout to a new ‘Shoreline’ check-in area, which will stretch across the whole terminal.
“This will give passengers a more intuitive and easier journey through the airport and provide flexibility to allow us to accommodate new airlines as we grow as an airport.
“This is a really exciting time for London Stansted and its £600 million transformation programme. This investment will transform the experience for millions of passengers, unlock spare capacity and provide a greater choice of destinations and airlines.
“We’re confident passengers, airlines and staff will love the new Stansted when it’s fully completed in 2022.”