London Stansted celebrates 30th anniversary of terminal building

15 Mar 2021 by Mark Caswell
Stansted's terminal building under construction

London Stansted airport is today celebrating the 30th anniversary of the opening of its Norman Foster-designed building.

The airport said that nearly 460 million passengers had passed through the building in the 10,958 days since it was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen on March 15, 1991.

The terminal welcomed its first flights later that week, with an Air UK service departing for Glasgow, and an Air France flight landing from Paris.

The opening of the new Stansted terminal building by Her Majesty the Queen

Stansted said that it had grown from 50 routes and one million passengers in 1991, to almost 200 destinations and 28 million passengers. But the onset of Covid-19 has seen this figure drop back to 1994 levels.

The terminal has been extended twice since opening, including a £50 million extension to the arrivals area.

The last decade has seen the airport acquired by MAG (Manchester Airports Group), and a new “shoreline” check-in area added in 2019.

A £150 million Arrivals Hall had been scheduled to open in 2020, but these plans were put on hold in later 2019, shortly before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cake cutting to mark the opening of the new terminal at Stansted airport

Commenting on the anniversary Steve Griffiths, London Stansted’s managing director, said:

“London Stansted has a long and proud history, and to be celebrating the 30th anniversary of our iconic terminal building, a building that has undoubtedly stood the test of time, is another great milestone on the airport’s journey.

“While the modern Stansted has been at the forefront of the revolution in air travel over past three decades, we currently face a crisis on a scale like never before.  Passenger numbers are almost back at the same levels as when we first opened, but we know there is demand from the millions of travellers who start and end their journeys through our doors each year.

“That is why it is more important than ever that the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce acts quickly to establish a framework for the restart of international travel in May.

“Stansted has helped create so many fantastic memories for our passengers and our highly valued colleagues over the years, 70 of whom have been with us since we welcomed the Queen all those years ago.

“We can’t wait to welcome back our passengers to begin the next 30 years of Stansted’s story, and we are confident the airport has a very bright and successful future once people are able to start planning for their well-deserved summer getaways.”

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