12th December 2007

Stansted posts slump in passengers as jobs fears mount

Figures published by BAA today (12 December 2007) show that Stansted Airport handled 1.55m passengers last month, down 6.3% on the same month last year. For the year to date passenger numbers in 2007 show just a 1% increase over last year – evidence of a substantial slowdown compared to annual growth of 15% to 20% experienced in recent years.

Part of the reason for the slowdown is that Stansted biggest customer, Ryanair, has withdrawn seven aircraft from service at Stansted blaming higher airport landing charges imposed by BAA earlier this year. Air Berlin, Stansted third biggest customer, has also cut back on its Stansted operations.

Meanwhile, Stansted’s main transatlantic carrier, Maxjet, is understood to be in financial difficulties having recorded a loss of $112m since it started operations at Stansted two years ago. Last week it asked for trading in its shares to be immediately suspended “pending clarification of its financial position.”

The slowdown at Stansted is also fuelling fears that BAA will announce job cuts at Stansted in the New Year as part of a programme to reduce costs. Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has learned that certain departments at Stansted are shortly to be rationalised or relocated.

SSE Campaign Director Carol Barbone said: “We take no comfort from the present uncertainty at Stansted. We have always acknowledged that the airport is an important local employer but there are risks in over-expansion, not least the risk of the local economy becoming over-dependent on a single employer. This is a vibrant and diverse local economy and we should keep it that way. Nobody knows what the future might hold and so it makes sense to avoid having too many eggs in one basket.”

Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport