Stansted Airport: The Taj Mahal of Essex

By Rob Last edited 164 months ago
Stansted Airport: The Taj Mahal of Essex

The redevelopment of Stansted airport has "slipped" and already accusations of blame have started flying about between the airlines and the developers.

The redevelopment was supposed to ease the congestion currently suffered by Gatwick and Heathrow by doubling Stansted's traffic.

Completion of a new runway was supposed to happen in 2011 but that's probably not going to happen now until 2013, and it could get worse unless some money is raised fast (i.e. by charging a £1 surcharge on all Heathrow and Gatwick passengers, something BA and Virgin aren't too happy about).

The runway is budgeted to cost £90 million, but airport company BAA also wants to add a few bells and whistles in the shape of "taxiways costing £420m, a £1.2bn terminal extension and improved roads and railways costing £670m".

When you realise that the money for all this is due to come from higher landing charges you can see why budget airlies like easyJet and Ryanair are throwing their toys out of their collective pram...but at least they're doing it in an amusing way:

In a rare joint statement, the two budget airlines accused the airport of designing "marble-lined terminals". Ryanair has accused BAA of planning a "Taj Mahal" in the Essex countryside, with gates linked by "little Noddy trains", while easyJet's chief operating officer, Ed Winter, said: "BAA is planning to build a folly on the grandest scale.

Throw in the fact that their is a pressure group (Stop Stansted Expansion who have the support of St Jamie Oliver and, the slightly less saintly, Terry Waite) on Alistair Darling's doorstep, and you have a good old-fashioned bureaucratic barny in the making.

Last Updated 19 May 2005