Airlines brand second runway a waste

LOW cost airlines have branded Stansted Airport's plans for a second runway a £4billion waste of money - and claimed it could result in higher air fares.

LOW cost airlines have branded Stansted Airport's plans for a second runway a £4billion waste of money - and claimed it could result in higher air fares.

They have joined cargo operators in calling on the Department for Transport to review the airport's expansion plans - including its proposed second runway - claiming they are too extravagant and expensive.

The Stansted Airline Consultative Committee (ACC), which includes Ryanair and Easyjet, criticised passenger forecasts for the airport as “without foundation and wildly inflated”.

It also accused Stansted's owner, airports authority BAA, of building “costly, gold-plated” facilities at the airport, which would lead to higher airport charges and increased air fares.


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The ACC called on Uttlesford District Council to ensure that any new facilities at the airport were based on “realistic” passenger forecasts.

The authority is currently holding a week of open meetings where community representatives, stakeholders and members of the public are discussing an application made by BAA.

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It wants the current “cap” of 25 million passengers a year at Stansted lifted so it can expand use of its single runway up to around 35 million passengers a year.

BAA's application to build a second runway at the airport is a separate issue but one which yesterday also came under fire by the ACC.

David O'Brien, chairman of the Stansted ACC, said: “The airline users of Stansted Airport strongly support the expansion of Stansted Airport with cost effective and efficient facilities that meet the needs of the airlines and consumers.

“The BAA airport monopoly has consistently ignored the requirements of Stansted users and built costly, gold-plated facilities because this is how they make their enormous profits - the more money they spend on facilities, the higher their allowed airport charges.”

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said: “We are committed to cost effective and timely investment that is appropriate for both passengers and stakeholders.”

Carol Barbone, campaign manager for the Stop Stansted Expansion Campaign, said: “We share the airline consultative committee's grave doubts on the accuracy of BAA's forecasts which have traditionally been ill-founded and subject to frequent revision in line with whatever suited the convenience of BAA.”

www.baa.co.uk

www.caa.co.uk

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