The new owners of London Stansted plan to put “the sparkle” back into the airport.
Following Manchester Airports Group’s €1.75 billion purchase of the London gateway from Heathrow Airport Holdings, new managing director Andrew Harrison said he was looking to take advantage of “the best airport facilities in the UK”.
He said he had spoken to more than 750 staff face-to-face, since taking the reins last week, adding that Stansted workers were rightly “very proud” of the airport.
Harrison told Airport World: “We have planned this with military precision for the last 18 months. We see Stansted as having great potential. That’s why we invested in it. It has a great catchment area which is complimentary to Manchester – we won’t be growing the airport at the expense of Manchester.
“Stansted has a strong foothold in low-cost but we are looking to reflect the needs of customers. We want to offer a greater range of carriers and choice and hopefully we’ll be able to move towards that.
“The airport is fantastic. It is one of the best laid out and most simplistic to use in the country, if not the best.
“We just want to make sure that customers coming through Stansted have a good experience. We want to make it easier and more pleasurable to get here, too.
“It’s got great raw material. It has a Lord Foster-designed terminal, the best terminal facilities in the UK, and it is the fastest and most efficient terminal in the UK.
“The main thing we’ll be looking to do is add a bit of sparkle to the experience. It has great design but the experience is a bit transactional.
“What comes across is that everyone who works here is really proud to work in this airport, so now we have an opportunity to unleash that enthusiasm.”
Harrison said he would look to work with car parks close to the airport to make the parking offer “more convenient and more competitive in terms of price”.
He said Stansted would try to make its security procedures more efficient and potentially move security.
He added: “We would then be able to create a larger departure lounge area. These are things we have done in Manchester and these are the principles we’d like to bring to Stansted.”