The airport, which has had to watch London's Gatwick, London City, Luton and Heathrow unveil or launch ambitious development projects over the last few years, insists that its upgrade will enhance the passenger experience and provide capacity for growth over the next decade.
The 34,000sqm arrivals facility designed by architects Pascall+Watson and spanning three levels, is the centrepiece in MAG’s multi-million pound programme to transform Stansted and cater for future growth in passenger numbers.
It will be situated next to the current terminal and will include larger immigration and baggage reclaim areas, new retail facilities, improved access for all onward transport options and a public forecourt to create a welcoming environment for arriving passengers.
The existing terminal will be reconfigured so that it is dedicated to departing passengers, providing more space at check-in, security and in the departure lounge.
The first phase of works will begin later this summer to create some additional capacity in the short-term, including extra check-in desks, additional seating and restaurants in the departure lounge.
Construction of the dedicated arrivals building will take place entirely outside the current terminal, helping to minimise disruption to passengers. It will take up to three years to complete once work begins late next year.
Stansted Airport’s Chief Executive, Andrew Cowan, says: “The granting of planning permission for our new £130 million arrivals building is excellent news for everyone connected to Stansted Airport and will transform our infrastructure and facilities to give our passengers the best possible experience.
“Stansted is a national asset and our investment will continue to boost competition and support economic growth, jobs and international connectivity for London and the East of England."
He goes on: “At a time when airport capacity in the country is at a premium, Stansted is playing a vital role in supporting both the regional and national economy. This project will strengthen our ability to do this by enabling us to make the most efficient use of our single runway.
“We will also be investing in other terminal improvements in the short term to keep pace with increased passenger and airline demand that we expect over the next few years.
"This will include more check-in desks, extra seating and new restaurants in the departure lounge. This is on top of the on-going investment to improve car parking facilities at the airport.
Once completed, Stansted will be the only UK airport operating dedicated arrivals and departures terminals.
He noted that Since MAG acquired Stansted in early 2013, passenger numbers have grown by 40%, that’s more than seven million additional passengers since it took over.
Welcoming the announcement, the UK's Aviation Minister, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon remarked: “These plans signal the start of an exciting new chapter for Stansted Airport, which already contributes £1 billion to the economy, and will help connect more passengers across the UK and throughout the world.
“Investment in our airports plays a key role in strengthening air links across the country, opening up new tourism and business opportunities and growing local economies.
"Plans for a dedicated arrivals building will ensure that Stansted can meet growing demand, improve the experience for passengers, create new jobs, and boost economic growth in the region.
"This is excellent news for the millions of passengers who travel through the airport each year.”