And it worked. After months of news items devoted to Heathrow's T5, baggage mishaps, proposed terminal and runway expansions, and Greenpeace protests, the UK’s third busiest airport has finally said to hell with all that and made its own bid for a bit of attention.
And what a bid it is. BAA’s plans to double the size of Stansted – second runway, second terminal, open for business by 2015 – would mean, according to its cheerleaders, a boost to the economy of £9 billion, the creation of more than 13,000 jobs by 2030, and the eventual capability to serve 68 million passengers a year. The project will require some 442 hectares of land and will mean the loss of thirteen listed buildings (ten to be dismantled and rebuilt elsewhere) – but the combination of which is unlikely to sit well with local residents and environmentalists. Indeed, the Stop Stansted Expansion Campaign has already declared the plans an act of “environmental vandalism” and “tantamount to a declaration of war”.
The Stansted expansion news come on the same day as reports of Conservative MP Justine Greening’s allegations that BAA has been “too close” in its involvement with the Heathrow plans for a third runway (by which we assume she’s referring to the BAA-Heathrow sleepover parties and pillow fights), and in the midst of angry calls for the break-up of BAA following its announcement that it will raise airport landing fees at Heathrow and Gatwick.
Gatwick? Gatwick, who? Oh right, Gatwick, the perennially neglected middle child. Surely it can’t be long before it wants in on a little headline-grabbing action, too?