Stansted: Airport sees decline in passengers numbers steepen

THE decline in passenger numbers at Stansted Airport steepened last month, owner BAA said today.

The airport handled just under 1.64million passengers in October, down 4.9% on the same month last year, following a 4% decline in September.

Last month’s figure means that Stansted’s cumulative total for 2011 so far is now 2.4% down compared with the same stage in 2010, at 15.75million.

And the rolling annual total for the airport is now 3.4% lower compared with the previous 12 months at 18.18million.

BAA said October’s decline in numbers at Stansted was part of a wider softening in demand during the month, with Heathrow also seeing a fall, of 1.3%, to 6.02million, and the group’s overall total declining by a similar margin to 9.62million.

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The decline at Stansted, and a 3% fall in numbers at Southampton, was offset by growth at the group’s three Scottish airports, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, which saw a combined increase of 2.1%.

BAA, which is still fighting a Competition Commission ruling that it must sell Stansted, said the Essex airport’s latest decline reflected capacity reductions by carriers, particularly on domestic routes, although 81.8% of seats on planes in and out of Stansted were filled – a record for October.

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BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: “The reduction in passengers at Heathrow is indicative of the softening in the global economy. We remain cautious about predicting growth in the coming months.”

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