Annual passenger total at Stansted on course to top 25m ‘in the very near future’

The main terminal at Stansted Airport.

The main terminal at Stansted Airport. - Credit: Archant

Passenger numbers at Stansted Airport dipped slightly last month compared with February 2016 – but the decline has been attributed to last year’s extra leap year day.

Andrew Cowan, chief executive at Stansted Airport.

Andrew Cowan, chief executive at Stansted Airport. - Credit: Archant

A total of just over 1.652m travellers passed through Stansted last month, 2.2% down on the total a year earlier, but the airport said that, on a like-for-like 28-day basis, the figure still represented growth of 1.4%.

Numbers were also restricted last month by a temporary reduction in capacity on some Ryanair routes but the airport’s rolling annual total for the year to the end of February was still 6.1% up compared with the previous 12 months, at nearly 24.363m.

Aircraft load factors also remained strong with an average 86.5% of available seats on flights being occupied, a new record for the month of February, beating the previous high of 84.9% set last year.

Andrew Cowan, chief executive at Stansted Airport, said: “The slight drop in passenger numbers during February was anticipated due to the effects of the additional leap year day in 2016 and a temporary reduction in flight frequencies on some Ryanair routes at the tail end of the winter season as previously indicated by the airline last year.

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“However, we have already seen this year Ryanair announce a host of new services and increased capacity on a range of popular routes for the summer season as well as British Airways confirming they will offer even more services from Stansted this year.

“This is in addition to preparing to launch its first ever flight and holiday programme in the south-east from Stansted at the end of the month, so we are extremely confident we will see strong growth return and the airport top 25m passengers a year for the first time in the very near future.”

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