London Stansted Airport has opened the first section of its new security search area to passengers, marking the latest milestone in its £80m terminal transformation project.
The first phase of the transformation project has relocated the security area away from its 'landlocked' central position to a spacious area that is twice the size and filled with natural light on the south side of the terminal building.
The security area is expected to be fully operational by Christmas, following which, it will feature 22 security lanes compared to the previous 18, with separate lanes for families, passengers with reduced mobility and fast track for premium travellers.
As part of its plan to improve the passenger experience, the airport will feature 20 self-service smart access gates, where passengers can scan their boarding cards.
The terminal transformation was launched in June this year by the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, and is slated for completion in 2015.
This major investment by Stansted Airport's new owners MAG is aimed at transforming the terminal by making better use of existing space and providing passengers with new security facilities and an enlarged departure lounge.
Stansted Airport's transformation director Martin Lyall said: "Stansted Airport's terminal transformation project is really beginning to take shape and promises to be an important step towards Stansted's ultimate goal of becoming the best airport in London.
"Our passengers have told us they want to get through security as quickly and safely as possible and we believe the additional space, easier access and improved way-finding in a great new location flooded with natural light is a real step change that will get passengers through security more quickly and efficiently."
Phase II of the project, which will commence in January 2014, will involve a complete redesign of the international departure lounge in order to provide easier journey through the airport.
It will provide additional seating, better restaurants and more shopping choice alongside improved way-finding and additional flight information screens.
The new design will also offer flexibility to accommodate future airline requirements, as the airport seeks to grow its existing customer base and attract a broader range of airline partners.
Image: Phase two of the Stansted Airport's terminal transformation project will see a complete redesign of the international departure lounge. Photo: courtesy of Stansted Airport Limited.