The 22-lane facility, which became operational just before Christmas and has increased capacity for security checks by 20%, represents the first phase of an £80milliohn project to transform the airport’s terminal building to meet the present-day requirements and expectations of passengers.
It includes 20 automatic self-serve entrance gates, dedicated lanes for families and passengers with reduced mobility and a fast track lane for premium travellers.
Mr Goodwill said: “It was fantastic to see for myself the transformation of the terminal at Stansted and to hear about how passengers will benefit from measures to keep queues down, including more security lanes and new facilities for families with buggies and wheelchair users.
“By making this investment, Stansted is showing that it is stepping up to the challenges of keeping the UK well connected.”
The investment by Manchester Airports Group, which acquired Stansted from the former BAA group a year ago, is in response to dramatic changes seen in air travel since the terminal opened, with far fewer passengers now using check-in desks or travelling with hold baggage but spending more time in the departure lounge. The previous security screening area was “landlocked” in the centre of the terminal meaning all passengers had to pass through check-in even if they didn’t need to be there. The new security area has been relocated so that passengers entering the terminal without check-in luggage can immediately enter the security area.
Work is now in progress on the next phase of the transformation, to create a new centrepiece departure lounge.
Andrew Harrison, managing director at the airport, said: “This is a great day for Stansted and the millions of passengers who use the airport each year, and we’re delighted the Minister was able to join us today to officially open the new and improved security area.
“In just 12 months since taking ownership we have managed to achieve this major milestone, a key element of our ambition to transform Stansted. I’ve been immensely impressed by the dedication and commitment of our people, the level of support from on-airport partners and above all, the enthusiasm for change at Stansted.
“Our focus is to provide great customer service, value and facilities and put Stansted in the strongest position to compete effectively for new routes airlines and passengers. The transformation of our terminal is a critical element in achieving this aim and central to our future growth plans for the airport.”