Stansted airport has been granted planning permission by Uttlesford District Council for its new £130 million arrivals building.

As previously reported by Business Traveller, the three-floor, 34,000sqm building will feature a larger immigration and baggage reclaim area, new retail facilities and a public forecourt “to create a relaxing and welcoming environment for passengers”.

The new space will in turn allow the existing terminal to be reconfigured for departing passengers only, but ahead of that work will take place later this summer to create additional short-term capacity, including extra check-in desks, seating and restaurants.

The airport said that work would begin in late 2018, and would take up to three years to complete, with construction taking place “entirely outside the current terminal, helping to minimise disruption to passengers”.

The new arrivals building will allow the airport to expand capacity from the current 25 million passengers up to the current planning limit of 35 million, and ultimately up to 43 million should permission be granted.

Commenting on the news Stansted airport’s CEO Andrew Cowan, said:

“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.

“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.

“Since MAG acquired Stansted in early 2013, passenger numbers have grown by 40 per cent, that’s more than seven million additional passengers than there were when we took over.  We have also attracted new airlines to serve more than 40 new routes and created the largest network of European destinations in the country, providing greater competition and choice for our passengers.”