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Stansted’s sporting legacy

Posted: 1 June 2012 | Tim Hawkins, Planning and Regulatory Director, London Stansted Airport | No comments yet

London Stansted Airport is delighted to be an official provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and is very proud to be one of the first to say ‘hello’ to the thousands of visitors and spectators arriving in the United Kingdom.

The Games are a unique and amazing opportunity to show what Britain has to offer and can provide a real boost to jobs, businesses and in-bound tourism. As the nearest major airport to the Olympic Village, Stansted has a key role in providing the best possible welcome to those coming to the Games from around the world as well as showcasing to potential new customers what the airport has to offer.

Stansted’s terminal and airfield have already been developed to serve 35 million passengers a year. We are currently serving around 18 million passengers a year, so we have the infrastructure and spare capacity that can be utilised during the Games to deal with the uplift in aircraft movements and passenger traffic. This includes the operational capability to accommodate the world’s largest planes, such as the Airbus A380.

London Stansted Airport is delighted to be an official provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and is very proud to be one of the first to say ‘hello’ to the thousands of visitors and spectators arriving in the United Kingdom.

The Games are a unique and amazing opportunity to show what Britain has to offer and can provide a real boost to jobs, businesses and in-bound tourism. As the nearest major airport to the Olympic Village, Stansted has a key role in providing the best possible welcome to those coming to the Games from around the world as well as showcasing to potential new customers what the airport has to offer.

Flight movements

Stansted’s terminal and airfield have already been developed to serve 35 million passengers a year. We are currently serving around 18 million passengers a year, so we have the infrastructure and spare capacity that can be utilised during the Games to deal with the uplift in aircraft movements and passenger traffic. This includes the operational capability to accommodate the world’s largest planes, such as the Airbus A380.

In November 2011, Stansted was recognised as Europe’s most punctual airport for departing flights and third in the world overall. Our approach during the Games is to make sure we maintain our high level of service and on-time performance for all passengers, and to do this we will be looking to accommodate additional traffic outside our peak hours.

This summer will be a busy time for the airport and we expect to see different planes operating in and out of Stansted during the period. While it’s too early to tell exactly what the numbers are likely to be, we do expect to see an increase in load factors on our normal scheduled traffic and, thanks to the runway capacity we have available, we are likely to see a mix of additional charter flights and one-off VIP and general aviation movements.

Team Stansted

Staff from all 200 on-airport companies will come together as ‘Team Stansted’ to ensure the airport operates as smoothly as possible, utilising the knowledge and expertise of the 10,000 strong workforce and their customer service skills, range of languages and cultural understanding.

We will rely on every airport company to deliver their part of the detailed plans. These plans were tested in 2011 by two high profile events; the State visit of President Obama and the arrival and departure of the FC Barcelona football team and 10,000 of their fans attending the Champions League final at Wembley. These events provided a fantastic opportunity to showcase Stansted’s operational expertise in managing complex and sensitive visits whilst maintaining our service to passengers.

Unusual baggage

The airport is also expected to handle unusual baggage which will be transported through the airport during the Games, including sports kit of all shapes and sizes. We’ve been working with Games organisers, handling agents and airlines to plan the resources and facilities necessary to deal with any increases in the volume and size of baggage, both on arrival and departure.

Alex O’Connell, Olympic fencer, and Iain Gowans, GB Paralympics team athlete services manager, were guest speakers at a special training session put on to help airport companies understand some of the unique and complex baggage challenges they will face during the Games. These insights have enabled handling agents, security, the UK Border Agency, Police and airlines to prepare in the right way and use this additional knowledge and understanding to further improve our levels of service.

Stansted’s expertise in logistical operations will also be deployed in handling multiple equine movements, as during the previous Beijing Games. Stansted is one of only a very small number of airports in the South East that has a specialist border inspection post necessary for the efficient and safe transportation of high value horses. In the lead up to the Beijing Games, 24 horses from the British, Australian, Jamaican, Japanese, Chinese, the USA and New Zealand eventing and dressage teams passed through Stansted.

Special teams of volunteers and ambassadors are being trained to ‘meet and greet’ Olympic related visitors. A multi-agency operational centre will act as a hub for co-ordinating all activity during the Olympics, working with our airlines, UK Border Agency, Police, the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG), the Highways Agency and liaising with the national aviation hub to help ensure the airport operates as efficiently as possible for both Olympic and non-Olympic users.

Beyond the airport

Our public transport links will also play a key role. In late-2011, we teamed up with Olympian Steve Cram to launch our updated Surface Access Strategy and showcase the part we will play in helping transport spectators and visitors to and from London. The introduction of new rolling stock on the Stansted Express service to London Liverpool station means Stansted has the newest trains serving any airport in the UK. New, longer platforms have also been constructed at the airport’s railway station to accommodate longer trains to cope as demand increases in the future. With the airport’s rail station directly beneath the terminal building and trains leaving every 15 minutes, access to London and the Olympic Village couldn’t be easier.

With over 600 departures a day to 55 destina tions across the UK, Stansted’s extensive coach network will come into its own during the Games. Up to 50 express coaches a day will whisk passengers directly to Stratford via the Public Transport Interchange hub from the front of the terminal.

A legacy

Our passengers travelling through the airport can also share in the excitement which the Games will generate. Wenlock (the London 2012 Olympic mascot) and Mandeville (the London 2012 Paralympic mascot) were on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon at the opening of a London 2012 shop in the departure lounge in August 2011. The LOCOG store gives international travellers the opportunity to stock up on a piece of sporting history as they pass through the terminal.

We are also working closely with a wide range of community groups and charity organisations, the tourism industry, local authorities and business partners to help create a sense of fun and excitement at the airport in the run up to and during both the Olympics and Paralympics. We were also delighted to announce that Essex based charity, the Panathlon Challenge, was chosen as Stansted’s inaugural charity partner of the year. They will be the focus of our fundraising efforts for 2012 by staging a number of sporting events and games in the terminal, including a mini Paralympic Games. Local scout groups will also help provide a ‘welcome’ at the airport across the summer. What better way to maximise the sporting legacy of the Games than getting our local young people involved in sport.

Once in a lifetime

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are a fantastic once in a lifetime occasion for the UK and a major logistical test for all those tasked with delivering a successful Games and legacy. But through detailed planning and commitment to teamwork, everyone connected with Stansted is up for the challenge and will do all they can to ensure we can all be proud of Stansted’s role in providing a great welcome and departure for all those travelling through the airport this summer.

 

About the author

Tim Hawkins is Stansted’s Regulatory and Planning Director. Previously, Tim led BAA’s engage – ment in the Government’s recent Review of Economic Regulation for airports. He was also responsible for BAA’s engagement with the Competition Commission during its market investigation into the company’s supply of airport services, and its appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Prior to this he held a variety of regulatory and strategic planning roles at BAA. He graduated in economics from Durham University and has a Masters degree in finance from the London Business School.

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