Its a very busy airport these days, but it wasnt always the way for Stansted airport.
In world war 2, airports were in short supply and being attacked daily. Britain needed airports and runways to launch their attacks on the enemy in Europe and also to train new pilots. One of the most important aspects of wartime airfields were maintenance depots and RAF Stansted Mountifchet became exactly that.
The air base was used by both American and British air forces, with the Eighth Air Force of America being based here and it ran its usual job of maintenance and supply, repairing aircraft damaged in the war effort. Its use was short lived however as the D-Day successes lead to most of these operations being moved to France, but the base carried on as a supply storage area.
With many changes since, Stansted looks a lot different with its terminal building, airport parking facilities or the impressive Stansted airport hotels on the modern era and it would be some time before it came close to resembling what it has become today. In fact, between 1945 and 1966, the airfield had somewhat of a chequered period, housing German prisoners of war between 1946 and 1947 to being the base for all training of Fire Service personal for all British airport right up to the mid seventies.
When the first charter holiday flights began in 1966 it was clear that the owners and the British government wanted this to be more than a simple way of escaping the ever busy Gatwick and Heathrow airports and fully intended to turn it in to Britain’s third airport. By 1969, the first terminal building was completed and underwent further expansion just a year later.
The expansions would continue through the 80’s and 90’s leading to more than 15 million passengers going through the airport a year. By 1988 it needed a new terminal building, which was finished in 1991 and still stands today along with other buildings that have sprung up around the area including the Stansted Hotels, car parks, restaurants and the close by train service.
As well as being a busy airport, Stansted has also featured the rich and famous with films, tv shows and adverts all being filmed at the airport including Flight 93 and Last Chance Harvey.