9th October 2012

Business passengers becoming a rare breed at Stansted

Recently published figures from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) show that business passengers are increasingly deserting Stansted Airport.

The CAA’s 2011 Passenger Survey Report published earlier this month shows that Stansted catered for just 2.8 million business passengers last year, the lowest number for ten years whilst Gatwick handled 5.6 million – an increase of 1.1 million on the previous year – and Heathrow handled 22.0 million business passengers, up 2.2 million on the previous year.

Fewer than one in every six passengers at Stansted is now travelling for business purposes, the lowest proportion for any of the UK’s top six airports. [see notes below]

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) economics adviser Brian Ross commented. “I suppose we should not be too surprised by these figures since Stansted is now so dominated by Ryanair, which accounts for over 70 per cent of its passengers. You can fly every day from Stansted to Tenerife and Torremolinos but you cannot get a flight to any of the key business cities in Europe, far less further afield.”

SSE hopes that these latest CAA figures – and also the fact that Stansted is operating at less than half its capacity – will serve as a reminder to Boris Johnson, Steve Norris and other ill-informed politicians and commentators that the business community is not exactly crying out for a four runway mega-hub airport at Stansted.


  • The share of business travel at the UK’s top six airports in 2011 was: Heathrow 31.3 per cent; Birmingham 20.0 per cent; Manchester 18.3 per cent; Luton 16.6 per cent; Gatwick 16.3 per cent; and Stansted 15.7 per cent.
  • Stansted Airport handled 17.4 million passengers and 132,000 air traffic movements in the 12 months to 30 September 2012. It has planning approval for 35 million passengers and 264,000 air traffic movements per annum.

Campaigning to ensure Stansted Airport's authorised operations stay below harmful limits