Stansted Airport is a large passenger airport with a single runway and is a hub for a number of major European low-cost airlines. Stansted is located in the Uttlesford District of Essex about 30 miles north-east of London .
Stansted was constructed by the United States Army in 1942 as a bomber base. By 1944, more than 600 aircraft were stationed there. The base played a major role in the Battle of Normandy.
After the war, the base was not needed and was transferred to the Air Ministry in 1947. The US military returned in 1954 to extend the runway for a possible transfer to NATO but this was never re ali sed and the airport ended up under BAA control in 1966.
Stansted is the fourth busiest airport in the UK and third-busiest airport in the London area after Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport . In 2005 Stansted handled almost 22 million passengers.
Several budget airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet maintain bases at Stansted and FedEX is a dominant operator of trans-Atlantic freighter services.
In December 2003 the Government published a White Paper, setting UK policy for air transport for the next 30 years. The Government gave its backing for massive expansion of air travel. Specifically, it supported maximum usage of Stansted’s present runway and the construction of a second runway by 2011/2012. This would allow Stansted to handle more passengers than Heathrow does today. At maximum capacity, the expanded airport could process 80 million passengers per annum and a significant proportion of the UK ‘s freight traffic. The proposals are strongly opposed by campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion.
Stansted has a railway station below the terminal building, with frequent rail services to London and less frequent services to Cambridge and the Midlands . The Stansted Express train runs to and from Liverpool Street Station in London every 15 minutes and the journey time is 45 minutes.
Scheduled express bus or coach services run to and from Stratford , Victoria Coach Station, Liverpool Street Station and Golders Green. The bus/coach station is adjacent to the terminal building. National Express runs scheduled but infrequent direct coach services to the airport from Oxford .
Stansted is connected to northeast London and Cambridge by the M11 Motorway and to Colchester and Harwich by the A120 dual-carriageway. The long term car park is situated about a mile from the terminal and passengers need to allow at least twenty minutes to park and use a courtesy bus shuttle service prior to check-in. There are short term car parks next to the terminal building.