Busiest-ever December completes record-breaking year for Stansted Airport

Andrew Cowan, chief executive at Stansted Airport.

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

Stansted Airport has completed a record-breaking 2016 by reporting its busiest-ever December, with the Christmas getaway helping boost passenger numbers.

More than 1.85m travellers passed through Stansted during the month, an increase of 146,000 or 8.6% on Decmeber 2015, with a record average “load factor” - a measure of how full aircraft are – also contributing to the growth.

Last month’s figure beat the previous December record of 1.76m passengers, set in 2006.

It also meant a record total for a full calendar year, with 2016’s figure of 24.3m passengers comparing with a previous high of 23.8m in 2007.

And this new record was achieved with 25,000 fewer aircraft movements during the year compared with 2007.

Stansted Airport chief executive Andrew Cowan said: “The last 12 months have been a very exciting and significant period in Stansted’s development as we achieved a number of significant milestones and continued to grow our passenger numbers.

“We are now serving more passengers than at any time in the airport’s history, adding over 1.75m passengers in the last year alone, but doing it in a more efficient and sustainable way that has enabled us to beat the previous passenger record set in 2007 but with 25,000 fewer flights.

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“We want to provide passengers from the east of England and across north and east London with the routes and choice they demand so I’m delighted we’ve been able to work closely with our airline partners to launch a host of new services and increase frequency to key destinations.

“We’ve seen positive growth from many of our airlines, particularly Ryanair who experienced a fantastic year and added 1.5 million passengers, and 2016 also saw British Airways start flights from Stansted for the very first time as well as the announcement that Jet2 will open its first base in the south of England this summer.”

He added: “To keep pace with demand, and in a year in which we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Stansted’s iconic terminal building, I’m also pleased we’ve been able to unveil exciting plans for a new £130m arrivals building to cater for the growing numbers of passengers and further improve the passenger experience at Stansted.”