Airport numbers drop

NUMBERS of people flying from Britain's top airports continues to fall - though experts expect the decline to be temporary it was revealed today.

NUMBERS of people flying from Britain's top airports continues to fall - though experts expect the decline to be temporary it was revealed today.

New figures out today show passenger totals fell six per cent at Stansted in the last year.

Campaigners are fighting plans for a second runway to be built at the Essex airport and opposing changes to airspace which will see new flightpaths put in place over Suffolk, increasing the flights and noise over the county.

Annual figures show Stansted handled just over 22.3 million passengers in 2008.

In December, its figures were 13pc down on the previous year - probably the effects of the worldwide financial crisis.

A BAA spokesman said the air transport movements for the company's airports in December were down 5.8pc compared with December 2007, while movements for the whole of 2008 were down 2.4pc compared with 2007.

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He said: “We expect, on the evidence of historic economic downturns and the resulting effect on air traffic, that the long-term prospects for growth remain good and that passenger volumes will recover in due course.”

The government is due this month to decide whether to give the go-ahead to expansion at Heathrow in the form of a third runway and a sixth terminal.

At 66.9 million, the number of passengers using Heathrow Airport last year was down 1.4pc.

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