11th January 2010
BAA needs to smell the coffee
Figures for 2009 published today (11 January) by BAA make a mockery of the airport operator’s claims that it urgently needs planning approval for a second runway at Stansted Airport.
The full year figures show that Stansted handled fewer than 20 million passengers last year, the lowest annual total for six years. There was an even sharper decline in the number of flights where last year’s total of 156,242 made it the quietest year for the Essex airport since 2002.
Despite the ongoing decline in passengers and flights at Stansted, BAA bizarrely still insists on continuing with its current planning application for a second runway based on its belief that Stansted will grow to 68 million passengers per annum (mppa) and 495,000 flights by 2030 which, on both counts, is more than today’s Heathrow.
Stansted currently has planning permission to expand to 35 mppa – allowing scope for expansion of 75% on the current level of passenger throughput – and the full capacity of the existing runway is considerably more than 35 mppa.
Commenting on the 2009 figures for Stansted, Stop Stansted Expansion Campaign Director Carol Barbone said: “BAA needs to wake up and smell the coffee and acknowledge the reasons why Stansted has experienced such a dramatic reversal during the difficult economic climate of the past two years, in stark contrast to Heathrow. It also needs to recognise once and for all that there’s no commercial logic in proceeding with a second Stansted runway costing twice the recent sale price of Gatwick and without any guarantee of additional demand.”
“Finally,” she added, “BAA needs to take a reality check with a cold, hard look at the views of the Competition Commission and the way the political wind is now blowing. This would hopefully make BAA see sense. It cannot justify continuing to blight so many lives over a new runway which nobody wants or needs. Any socially and financially responsible company would have no hesitation in ditching the plans forthwith.”