12th January 2012

Stansted flights hit ten year low

… and there’s worse to come

News today (12 January) that flights in and out of Stansted have hit a ten year low has prompted Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) to reiterate its call for BAA to commit to a long term moratorium on a second runway at Stansted.

In 2010, the airport handled 143,335 commercial flights compared to 146,500 in 2000. The number of passengers handled also continued to decline, dropping 7% last year to 18.6 million passengers compared to 20.0 million passengers in 2009. At its peak in 2006/07 just over 24 million passengers passed through the airport.

There were some unusual circumstances last year, including the Icelandic volcano problem in April and adverse weather both at the start and at the end of the year. Surprisingly however, BAA has told its investors that it expects a further decline at Stansted during the current year. It expects to lose another million travellers, with throughput falling to 17.6 million passengers in 2011 – half the level permitted on the airport’s single runway..

SSE believes that within this context a commitment to a long term moratorium by the airport operator must now be given, not least since it would help restore community relations, cited by Stansted’s new managing director Nick Barton as firmly on his priority list. It would also give those considering purchase of properties owned by BAA which are to come onto the market shortly greater confidence in their investment which would in turn regenerate the local community.

SSE has been pressing for such a commitment since news that BAA was scrapping its “G2” second runway plans last May, when it also made representations to the company’s chief executive to sell back approximately 250 homes bought up in connection with the application. It also raised the issue with Transport Minister Theresa Villiers at a Westminster meeting in November.

Commenting on the 2010 figures and the outlook for the future, SSE campaign director Carol Barbone said: “It’s hard to believe that just eight months ago BAA was still pursuing its planning application to make Stansted a two runway airport bigger than Heathrow today, wasting millions of pounds in the process. Even now the company still insists that it hasn’t abandoned its ambitions for a second runway despite the blight and unhappiness this continues to cause in the community. What better opportunity to restore community relations and faith in BAA than to give the long term guarantee of no second runway which is so sorely needed?”

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