Stansted Airport has opened the first phase of its £50 million terminal refurbishment and extension programme.
The extension will add nearly 6,000 square metres of space for arriving passengers, including a sixth baggage reclaim belt and extra desk space for immigration control managed by the UK Border Agency.
Nick Barton, Stansted’s strategy director, said: "At peak times we can expect over 3,300 arriving passengers an hour through the terminal, so this new extension is all about us continuing to provide the best possible facilities for passengers.
"This means meeting the travel demands of today as well as planning ahead for passenger growth in the future which is forecast to see numbers rise to 35 million a year by 2015."
Later phases are scheduled to be opened by December 2008 and will include new shops, more comfortable waiting areas for friends and relatives, and new bus, coach, train or taxi facilities.
More and more airlines are choosing to fly from Stansted and recently Aegean Airlines launched twice daily flights from the airport to the Greek capital Athens, and Lithuanian Airlines fly direct from Stansted to Vilnius – the 2009 European Capital of Culture.