Airport chiefs reject slowdown claims

AIRPORT chiefs today rejected claims that Stansted is suffering a “substantial slowdown” in its growth after figures revealed less passengers and planes are using it.

AIRPORT chiefs today rejected claims that Stansted is suffering a “substantial slowdown” in its growth after figures revealed less passengers and planes are using it.

They said the air traffic figures were expected because there was less travel in winter - and planned future growth and proposals for a second runway were not affected.

Latest figures from BAA show Stansted handled 1.55 million passengers last month - 6.3 per cent down on the same month last year - and so far this year passengers have increased just one pc.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) said this was “evidence of a substantial slowdown compared to annual growth of 15pc to 20pc experienced in recent years”.

The group said part of the reason was Stansted's biggest customer Ryanair withdrawing services, and Air Berlin, its third biggest customer, also cutting back on operations.

SSE claimed this was fuelling fears that BAA will announce job cuts at Stansted in the New Year.

Most Read

SSE campaign director Carol Barbone said: “We take no comfort from the present uncertainty at Stansted.

“We have always acknowledged that the airport is an important local employer but there are risks in over-expansion, not least the risk of the local economy becoming over-dependent on a single employer.

“This is a vibrant and diverse local economy and we should keep it that way. Nobody knows what the future might hold and so it makes sense to avoid having too many eggs in one basket.”

But Mark Davison, head of media relations at Stansted, said the airlines' planned reductions in services had been known for some months and had been anticipated and factored into forecasts.

“During the winter there is a marked difference in the number of people travelling compared to the summer months,” he said.

“Ryanair had made it clear they were not going to operate some of their routes during the winter - the company is only operating three planes less than last year and will be taking up their full quota again for summer 2008.

“We are exactly where we expected to be at this time and our projections for 35 million passengers a year by 2015 and plans for a second runway remain unaffected.”

He added it was true BAA was making some changes which might involve loss of jobs, but also creation of new ones, as part of a review of its whole business - not just at Stansted.

Do you think Stansted should expand? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter