Stansted Airport hits 22m annual passenger milestone & hopes to beat record next year
Bosses at Stansted Airport hope to set a new record for passenger numbers next year – as it moves ever-closer to offering scheduled long-haul flights.
Today the airport revealed it had broken the 22 million annual passenger milestone for the rolling year total for the first time in more than six years – and served more than two million people monthly for five months in a row for the first time since 2008.
Directors at the airport hope that even if the fast pace of 15.8% year-on-year growth – which saw passenger numbers break 20 million annually just eight months ago – does not continue, the record of 23.9m hit in 2007 will be beaten at some point during 2016.
Mark Souter, the airport’s head of business development, said: “There has been a huge amount going on here, particularly since the Manchester Airport Group (MAG) took over ownership, not just on business development but also improving the infrastructure and experience here at Stansted.
“The filled seats shows the strength of our region and that people are starting to return to the airport.
“MAG has been pumping money into improvements at the terminal so we are growing fast but also making a good experience for passengers as well. We are only about halfway through spending £260m in five years.”
Mr Souter recently attended the annual World Routes conference in South Africa to continue the airport’s pitch for new airlines to fly from Stansted, including to long-haul destinations.
Although more details cannot yet be revealed, Mr Souter said the airport was looking both east and westbound and he was confident Stansted was growing in attraction to airlines.
In the shorter term there are new routes to Reykjavik, Vienna, Gothenburg, Castellon and the Azores beginning in the next few months.
Summer flights to Orland, Cancun and Las Vegas from Thomas Cook also proved popular, with the operator early in the season pledging to return to the airport next year, along with Thomson in the chartered sector.
Mr Souter said: “We have spent quite a bit of time engaging with businesses across the region, in Ipswich, Colchester, and travel agents too, to build up a really good picture of what our customers want.
“Also we have been working with travel agencies and tourism bodies who tell us their interests for markets travelling in. Just under half of our tickets are bought in Europe for people travelling in so we have good awareness as an airport overseas.
It is not just about passenger numbers at Stansted, as the amount of cargo handled through the airport’s freight operation has also continued to rise while the average number of seats filled on each flight has reached 87.8%.