| Press Release - 21 July 2009
RESPONSE TO LATEST RYANAIR CUTBACKS AT STANSTED
Commenting on news today (21 July) of major cutbacks by Ryanair in its winter schedules for Stansted Airport, Stop Stansted Expansion's Economics Adviser Brian Ross said: "The idea that there is any need for a second runway at Stansted is now simply pie in the sky. It is also clear that expansion plans have become a distraction for BAA management at Stansted at the expense of the underlying business."
"SSE takes no pleasure from the potential job losses that will arise from this further loss of business at Stansted and the impact this will have on the local community. We therefore call on the airport operator to abandon plans for a second runway and concentrate instead on making Stansted a sustainable airport serving the needs of the local travelling public and business community," he continued.
Ryanair accounts for two out of every three passengers using Stansted and so the reduction is a major blow for airport operator BAA. Stansted has also seen a far more serious decline than other airports during the current economic downturn.
Both Ryanair and easyJet oppose BAA's second runway plans on which the airport operator has already squandered some £200m - one of the main reasons for the increase in airport charges at Stansted cited by Ryanair as a reason for transferring flights elsewhere.
Today's news will mean a 40 percent reduction in the number of aircraft it will base at Stansted this winter (compared with summer schedules), from 40 aircraft to 24. The Irish carrier says that this will result in a 30 percent fall in the number of flights and a loss of 2.5m passengers at Stansted between October and March 2010.
Last year (2008) the airport handled 22.3m passengers. SSE forecasts that this figure will fall by some 13 percent to 19.5m for 2009 - well below half the capacity of the airport's single runway and less than half the level of demand predicted by the Department for Transport for 2030 - around 43m passengers. BAA is increasingly isolated in continuing to maintain that demand will rise to 68m passengers by 2030 which commentators see as driven more by hope than any real expectation.
NOTE TO EDITORS
Details of any of the calculations/statistics above are available from SSE upon request.
Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE: M 0777 552 3091, firstname.lastname@example.org