Campaigners welcome axing of flights

CAMPAIGNERS claimed today that Stansted's loss of its last daily flight to New York showed the airport was not going to grow as fast and big as it hoped.

CAMPAIGNERS claimed today that Stansted's loss of its last daily flight to New York showed the airport was not going to grow as fast and big as it hoped.

Carol Barbone, campaign director for Stop Stansted Expansion, said the axing by American Airlines of its service - launched seven months ago in a blaze of publicity - was a “considerable blow” to the airport's plans to develop the long-haul market.

“We have seen over the last few months Maxjet and Eos pull out and it is now quite clear with the falling passenger numbers Stansted has experienced over the last six months that its hopes of creating an airport with the capacity of Heathrow are not going to be realised as easily as hoped,” she said.

Stansted is keen to promote its overseas tourism and business profile after taking huge criticism for its reliance on cheap flights.

Last December the airport had three airlines offering New York flights and now it will have none.

Campaigners have been fiercely critical of the stag and hen weekend culture of cheap flights, virtually all of them flying over Suffolk, causing noise and pollution.

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A spokesman for American Airlines said: “This decision is among a number of first-round reductions to American's flight schedule as part of the airline's previously announced plans to reduce capacity in an effort to significantly reduce costs.

“These actions come in the face of skyrocketing fuel prices and a softening economy.”

The last flight from Stansted to New York's JFK International Airport will be on July 2.

Nick Barton, strategy and solutions director at Stansted, said: “We're obviously disappointed by the announcement from American Airlines that it plans to cease its Stansted operations in July.

“Today's decision is reflective of the global situation, especially relating to rising oil prices and the current economic environment.

“Let there be no mistake, we remain confident in the prospects for the development of long-haul operations at Stansted.”

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