Ryanair has agreed a new long-term growth deal with Stansted Airport’s new owners M.A.G after previously cutting back services from the Essex airport.
MAG and Ryanair have agreed a new 10-year deal which will see the low-cost carrier increase its passenger count at the airport, starting with new routes to Lisbon, Bordeaux, Dortmund and Rabat, Morocco.
Ryanair currently carries more than 13 million passengers a year from the airport and hopes to increase this to 18 million by 2018 and 21 million by 2023.
The airline had previously scaled back its operation from the airport after seeing fees rise under previous owners BAA.
“Ryanair is pleased to have agreed a new 10 year growth deal at London Stansted with M.A.G. This deal will see our Stansted traffic grow by more 50%, from 13.2m in 2012 to more 20m p.a. in return for lower costs and more efficient facilities at Stansted,” said Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary. “This agreement proves how UK airports can flourish when released from the dead hand of the BAA monopoly and is the first dramatic initiative by M.A.G to reverse seven years of decline, during which Stansted’s traffic fell from 23.8m to 17.5m.”
Stansted Airport has suffered in recent years with passenger numbers and routes, and has services mainly offered by low-cost carriers.
In addition to the new routes, MAG also has plans to upgrade the terminal with a GBP80 million investment.
“The new long term agreement between Ryanair and MAG at Stansted shows that competition really does work, and it represents great news for both passengers and UK businesses,” said MAG’s chief commercial officer Ken O’Toole.
“We acquired Stansted in February this year believing we could significantly expand the services on offer by competing more effectively to make the most of the airport’s untapped potential and spare capacity. We were confident Stansted would grow if we offered great value to airlines, increased passenger choice and better services and facilities,” he added.
O’Toole said MAG will “compete hard” to win airline business in its own bid to become the “best airport in London”.