By Jean Christou
WHETHER Stansted will work for Cyprus Airways remains to be seen, but certainly one of the biggest concerns for passengers travelling in either direction will be the time, the cost, or both, of getting into central London.
Stansted is around 56 kilometres from the city centre while Heathrow is less than half that at 24 kilometres so there’s no doubt that although plenty of transport is available from Stansted, it is going to take longer no matter which way you look at it. And businessmen, for whom time is money, will always prefer to fly in and out of Heathrow.
The most convenient way out of Heathrow is the Heathrow Express to Paddington station. It take 15 minutes, runs every 15 minutes from 5am to 11.30pm – half an hour after Heathrow closes down for the night.
Tickets cost £26 sterling (€32) one-way or £21 if booked in advance. Return tickets cost £39 or £34 in advance.
You can also use the Tube from Heathrow which takes around an hour and cost just over £5 for a single, and a third train service with stops, called Heathrow Connect which takes 25 minutes and costs between £5 and £10 depending on where you get off.
Stansted also has an express train link, not surprisingly called the Stansted Express, which can be boarded from underneath the terminal and which takes you to Liverpool Street station. It also runs every 15 minutes from 5.30am to half past midnight and 1.30am on Sundays. It costs around half of what the Heathrow Express does but takes three times as long at 47 minutes.
There are regular bus services from both airports – under £5 from both. Arriving at Heathrow, it will take a minimum of 30 minutes by bus to reach the city, and from Stansted 80-100 minutes to London Victoria. There is also an easyBus for £2 one-way to Old Street central London, which takes 60 minutes. Stansted is a 24-hour airport with night-flights limited to a quota so some bus services run around the clock.
If you’re feeling flush – very flush – there is also the taxi option. To get to Oxford Street from Heathrow will cost a minimum of £65-£70 and takes 30 minutes to an hour. A taxi from Stansted will clock in around £100 and take a minimum of an hour to reach the city.