London Stansted Airport – 2021 Business Aviation Destination Guide
There are eight airports in the immediate London area to handle general aviation (GA) flights, but only two are 24-hour airports – Stansted (EGSS) and Luton (EGGW). While all airports have their own unique operating restrictions, EGSS is exceptionally user-friendly, efficient, and flexible in terms of schedule changes. The focus here is on providing a smooth experience for passengers and crew in terms of services, express clearance of customs, and accommodation of any necessary schedule revisions. The recent decision by London’s Luton Airport to impose a Night Slot Ban from June 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021, between the hours of 2200Z to 0600Z, makes Stansted an even more appealing option. Here’s everything you need to know about operating a business jet to London-Stansted Airport.
Stansted distance to London
The field at Stansted is located very close to the freeway (within five minutes) with good access to London. Canary Wharf and the financial district are about 45 minutes drive time. London’s West End (where popular hotels are located) is about a 1-hour 15-minute drive. Good hotels are available near the airport for operators who need to remain overnight (RON) at EGSS.
Stansted operating hours
Stansted is a 24/7 airport of entry (AOE) with customs services throughout the day. Runways, taxiways, and tarmac are in good condition, with no work or closures forecasted throughout 2021. With a 10,000-foot runway, EGSS can accommodate aircraft up to business/VIP, configured up to and including a B747-800.
Stansted is cost-effective with aircraft parking fees that are not prohibitive. While EGSS has a large GA ramp and seldom fills up, this is now the third busiest airport in London, after Heathrow (EGLL) and Gatwick (EGKK).
Handling & Equipment
There are multiple world-class FBO options at Stansted. However, the London area can be a rather expensive operating environment from the handling, parking, and services perspective. Therefore, we recommend that operators shop around for the best airport option and the best deal. Ground handlers will be happy to provide cost quotes to help you better refine operating options. Click here for more info on handling in the UK Universal Aviation’s award-winning Stansted location is consistently ranked one of the top FBOs in the world. Universal Aviation UK – London Stansted has its own baggage loader, VIP vans, and baggage transfer vehicles. For more information on this location, including a 360 view of the FBO, visit Universal Aviation London-Stansted online.
Good quality crew accommodations are available close to Stansted with typical prices for 4-star airport area crew rooms running about 125 £/night. In addition, most UK airport hotels offer complimentary transfers to and from the airport. Click here for more information on hotel accommodations in the UK.
Vehicles (prepaid transportation and taxis) with appropriate documentation are permitted on the ramp to pick up/drop off passengers or crew planeside. We recommend that crew consider prepaid transport (car with driver) and having your ground handler suggest a preferred and vetted provider for safety and convenience. Although public taxis in London are very good, they’re often unable to find FBO locations easily. As a result, some crews attempting to arrange transport on their own have become lost in an area they are unfamiliar with. Public rail links are available directly from Stansted to the city center. However, keep in mind that the airport train stops at around midnight, while the “tube” closes down at 0100 local. Planeside pickup is a straightforward process at EGSS. Any vehicle – prepaid transport, a company car, or even a taxi – can access the ramp to drop off or pick up passengers planeside. The driver must present an appropriate ID, either a passport or a driver’s license with its paper counterpart, to the FBO, and a pass will be issued. The vehicle will then be met at the gate and escorted planeside. This sort of service is not possible at Heathrow (EGLL) or Gatwick (EGKK). EGSS has a distinct advantage in that commercial and GA operations are on separate sides of the airfield — scheduled commercial is on the south side, and GA is on the north side. In addition, because there are no outbound-customs procedures for international departures, a vehicle may take crew and passengers directly to the aircraft except charter crew and passengers who must clear security first. Crew who arrived with the business aircraft can access the ramp at any time by simply presenting crew ID to FBO security. The FBO can also issue Ramp-access passes with appropriate identification to other personnel, such as a local maintenance technician or in-flight caterer associated with your flight. You can get a free quote for ground transportation through Universal-Drivania Chauffeurs. Helicopter transfers can also be arranged.
Aviation fuel prices are among the most reasonable in the London area. In addition, the aviation fueling process is very efficient at EGSS, and there’s ample availability of fuel trucks. As a result, peak hour airline activity is seldom an issue in prompt and timely GA fueling.
Some of the best in-flight catering options globally are available in the London area, including high-end commercial in-flight catering, specialty aviation caterers, and restaurant/hotel options. When sourcing catering directly from local restaurants or hotels, be sure to check on any security screening limitations that may impact your ability to bring cuisine through security. Should you wish to offload in-flight catering and store it for the next departure, this may be possible with advance arrangement, depending on the food items and handler has access to appropriate storage facilities at the airport. You can check the free Air Culinaire Worldwide Menu app to see catering options and menus available.
Fencing, security cameras, and routine patrols – of perimeter and ramp areas – are standard at all UK airports. In addition, UK airports typically have their own airport security teams. Police take care of security within the airport boundary, and these police forces have armed units. Security screening of all passengers, crew, and luggage is required before boarding charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights over 10 metric tons. Charter crews are only required to be screened on the day of departure and enjoy direct access to the ramp and their aircraft by showing crew ID to security at the FBO.
Customs clearance is possible either onboard your aircraft, at the fixed base operator (FBO) adjacent to the ramp on arrival. Remote customs clearance allows GA passengers to bypass the customs clearance process on arrival. It is only possible when UK customs pre-approves an operator’s flight. This remote customs clearance can’t be requested, as the clearance process is determined by the customs officer on duty. European Union (EU) nationals may request remote clearance by phone. Remote clearance authorization for non-EU passengers requires passenger information emailed to customs. Customs will do a background check, stamp the form if remote clearance is approved, and email it back to the requestor (usually to your ground handler). At this point, clearance has been completed, and there’s no need to interact with customs on arrival. Best practice is to notify customs the evening before your arrival. Still, short notice remote-clearance requests are possible with 4-6 hours’ notice. Once granted, remote clearance is reasonably flexible in terms of passenger additions or deletions. Still, customs must be notified of any changes before arrival. Outbound customs clearance is not required for either a charter or private non-revenue operation.
Stansted is a recommended tech stop as it operates 24/7 with 24/7 CIQ clearance available. Additionally, EGSS has a 10,000 ft. runway, a GA ramp located on the other side of the field separate from schedule commercial activity, and good airline links for crew repositioning purposes.
London Stansted (EGSS) is a 24/7 airport of entry (AOE) with plenty of GA parking and complete support services approximately with multiple transportation options into London. Airport slots are required, and there are restrictions to consider for noisier aircraft. For example, a Global Express may depart 24/7, while a private Gulfstream 2 may not be able to operate after 2330 local due to noise considerations. Aircraft hush kitted to Stage 3 standards are permitted, based on submitted noise certificates. Still, while they may be able to arrive 24/7, departures may be restricted after 2330 local. Universal Aviation’s award-winning Stansted location is available 24/7 to assist. For more information on this location, including a 360 view of the FBO, visit Universal Aviation London-Stansted online.