Stansted calls for improved rail link

The government is being urged to improve the rail link between Stansted and London as a way to boost the economy.

Stansted managing director Nick Barton says the airport could attract more airlines and inbound business if journey times between London’s Liverpool Street station and the airport could be reduced from at least 45 minutes to half an hour.

“Connectivity between airport and financial destination is critical,” he told the Financial Times.

The UK’s third-biggest airport by passenger numbers handles only 18 million people a year of the 35 million it could cope with at a time when Heathrow is full and Gatwick is nearing capacity.

But half of those who use Stansted arrive by public transport – the highest proportion of any major UK airport – with the journey time to London putting off some travellers, according to Barton.

The airport is pushing for Network Rail to include a commitment to cutting the journey time in its investment plan for the next five years, which is due to be adopted by the Department for Transport in July.

The timing coincides with the government’s aviation review, which aims to address limited airport capacity in the south-east.

Barton argues that adding more routes at Stansted, which sits in a region rich with small- and medium-sized businesses, would boost trade between the UK and the rest of Europe.

Stansted owner BAA is fighting a Competition Commission ruling that it should dispose of Stansted as well as Edinburgh airport.

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