|Quoting TS-IOR (Reply 1):|
STN was a charter airport with Britannia and Dan-Air London flights to sunny destinations.
Before it was a charter airport it was a military base built in 1942 during WW2 as a USAF
In 1984 approval was given to the British Airports Authority (now BAA) to expand STN
into an international airport. The strategy its owners developed was to restrict expansion at LHR
and prevent new airlines from operating from there. This caused uproar amongst BAA's customers, particularly those based in the US.
The day before the Queen opened the new terminal at STN
in 1991 BAA had to make an embarrassing climbdown. This left them with the biggest white elephant in Europe - the huge new STN
terminal with hardly a passenger or airline in sight.
While all this had been going on a new Irish airline had started a Waterford-LGW
service in 1985. The following year it wanted to add a DUB
service. However the Irish government, anxious to protect Aer Lingus, refused the application. A little surprisingly in those days, however, the British Thatcher government approved the application and Ryanair started the service under a new EU regulation that required only one government to approve a new air service for a new intra-EU flight.
Around 1891 the owner of Ryanair, Tony Ryan, and his right hand man, Michael O'Leary had ambitious plans to further grow their airline which by then had a solid base at LTN
. However they saw LTN
as being too small for their planned long term expansion and saw the dilemma BAA faced at STN
as a heaven sent opportunity.
O'Leary met with BAA and discussed the growth plans. He negotiated extremely favourable terms for FR
to move their London base from LTN
. According to the book 'Ryanair How A Small Irish Airline Conquered Europe' by Siobhan Creaton published by Aurum Press (London) the then managing director of STN
, Terry Morgan, said:
'I can't give you actual numbers but basically Ryanair was given and still has a deal where it is given a discount off the full tariff mainly related to the volume of traffic it brings through . . . If it opened a new route , for the first year of its operation, Ryanair would get a heavily discounted price. As the route matured over time the price went up.'
The book continues:
'He [Terry Morgan] said the tariffs charged were stepped up over four or five years. "It has been renegotiated many times over the past fifteen years but the basic structure is more or less the same."
'Its rivals believe Stansted agreed to charge Ryanair £1 per passenger to use the airport, a fraction of the official £6 fee.'
So why STN
became the largest hub of Europe's largest LCC is clear. And STN
would never be called the 'Low Cost Emporium of Europe' without FR