| Press Release - 10 March 2009
SSE ACCUSES BAA OF UNBELIEVABLE SPIN
BAA's announcement today of a 16.2% drop in Stansted passenger numbers in February has been accompanied by unbelievable spin with BAA attributing half the decline to bad weather and the fact that last February had an extra day.
Comparison with the February figures two years ago remove the leap year distortion and shows that Stansted handled 19.5% fewer passengers last month compared to the same month in 2007. Moreover, this is the fourth consecutive month showing this scale of drop in passenger numbers, indicating the underlying rate of decline at Stansted.
The fall in the number of flights handled is even more pronounced with 21.7% fewer flights handled by Stansted over the past four months compared to the same period two years ago. Even more startling is the fact that last month Stansted handled fewer flights than in any month during the past seven years.
Clearly the economic downturn is bound to be having an effect but it is interesting to note that Stansted's nearest competitor, Luton, recorded 12% growth last year while Stansted suffered a marked decline. SSE believes that the reason for the disparity is mainly down to BAA's 2007 decision to effectively double landing charges at Stansted for its major airline customers.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) economics adviser, Brian Ross commented "Just because SSE is opposed to the unsustainable expansion of Stansted does not mean that we favour its contraction. However, BAA should tell it as it is, and avoid all this misleading spin."
Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE: M 0777 552 3091, firstname.lastname@example.org