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Stansted cutbacks put second runway plans into doubt

Ryanair has announced a 40% cutback in its winter schedule at Stansted, undermining the case for a second runway according to lobby group Stop Stansted Expansion

Ryanair operated 40 aircraft from Stansted this summer but will reduce this to 24 aircraft (a 40% reduction) this winter with a 30% reduction in the number of weekly flights and a loss of 2.5m passengers at Stansted between October and March 2010. It blames high airport charges by BAA and high tourist tax for a drop in traffic..

“The idea that there is any need for a second runway at Stansted is now simply pie in the sky,” said Stop Stansted Expansion’s economics adviser Brian Ross.  “It is also clear that expansion plans have become a distraction for BAA management at Stansted at the expense of the underlying business.”

 “SSE takes no pleasure from the potential job losses that will arise from this further loss of business at Stansted and the impact this will have on the local community.  We therefore call on the airport operator to abandon plans for a second runway and concentrate instead on making Stansted a sustainable airport serving the needs of the local travelling public and business community.”

Ryanair accounts for two out of every three passengers using Stansted and according to SSE,  Stansted has seen a far more serious decline than other airports during the current economic downturn.

Both Ryanair and easyJet oppose BAA’s second runway plans as they believe it is one of the main reasons for the increase in airport charges at Stansted

Last year (2008) the airport handled 22.3m passengers.  SSE forecasts that this figure will fall by some 13 percent to 19.5m for 2009 – well below half the capacity of the airport’s single runway and less than half the level of demand predicted by the Department for Transport for 2030 - around 43m passengers. 

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