Fewer planes coming over Suffolk

PEOPLE living under flightpaths in Suffolk are set to see a cutback in planes this winter - and a reduction in jet noise.

PEOPLE living under flightpaths in Suffolk are set to see a cutback in planes this winter - and a reduction in jet noise.

Cheap flight specialists Ryanair - Stansted airport's largest airline - announced substantial reductions in its winter schedule by grounding even more planes than last year.

The company said it will reduce the number of planes based at the airport to 28 - compared with 36 last winter - with a 14 per cent cut in the number of weekly flights from more than 1,850 per week last year to just under 1,600 this year.

It estimates its traffic at Stansted will decline this winter by 900,000 passengers.

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Many of its flights arrive back over Suffolk and at peak times this can be one every two minutes.

Ryanair said high fuel prices along with higher airport charges from airport owners BAA were among their reasons for the cutbacks and said it would lose less money by sitting the eight aircraft on the ground, rather than flying them.

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Chief executive officer Michael O'Leary said: “These winter schedule cutbacks, which are significantly greater than those of last winter, show just how damaging the BAA airport monopoly has become to consumers and the best interests of London and UK tourism and the economy generally.”

A BAA Stansted spokesman said: “Let's be clear: the aviation industry like many others is coping with the challenges of a global economic downturn.

“Everyone is feeling the pinch. The dynamic nature of the budget airline industry means that routes and flight schedules change all the time - and at times like this, more so.

“Many airlines, including Ryanair, always reduce services in the winter season. This year will be no exception - even BA is cutting back.

“We have met with Ryanair to discuss how best to help each other in the months ahead, and we look forward to continuing to do so in coming weeks. We have absolutely no intention of conducting commercial negotiations in public. We are however very pleased that Ryanair will be launching eight new routes from Stansted this winter.”

Do too many planes fly over Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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