Passenger numbers through Stansted Airport in July fell 5.3 per cent year-on-year, owner BAA has disclosed.
A total of 1.78 million passengers used the Essex UK hub last month – well down on last year – and BAA is blaming the London Olympics for putting a lot of non-Games holiday traffic on hold.
Stansted passenger numbers from January to July were also down 4.6 per cent to 9.94m and the total for the last 12 months fell 4.8 per cent to 17.56m.
But the airport’s prime location – midway between London’s financial hub and the Cambridge technology cluster – boosted cargo figures. Stansted handled 18.42 metric tonnes of freight in July – up nine per cent year-on-year.
From January to end-July cargo carried was 121.3 metric tonnes, up 1.7 per cent on last year. The first-half boom means that for the 12 months to date, Stansted’s cargo figures have held at the previous year’s levels.
The total of 9.6m passengers that passed through BAA’s five UK airports in July was down 4.1 per cent on July 2011. This included a drop of 4.4 per cent at Heathrow to 6.6m passengers.
BAA says the fall was more pronounced in the second half of the month and adds that it is likely the Olympics played a part, with UK passengers staying at home as well as non-Olympic visitors from overseas choosing to defer their journeys.
At Heathrow, domestic traffic saw an increase of 1.2 per cent compared with last year while European scheduled traffic – significantly affected by the Olympics – fell 6.6 per cent.
North Atlantic traffic remained almost unchanged (+0.1 per cent), while other long haul routes had a collective decline of 6.3 per cent. Within that passenger numbers to and from India dropped 11 per cent but Brazil saw an increase of 15 per cent and China 3.4 per cent.
BAA chief executive, Colin Matthews, said: “We are proud to have played our part in giving the very best welcome to London 2012 to athletes and visitors alike. Seven years of hard work and planning, the warmth and enthusiasm of more than a thousand volunteers and additional Border Force staff produced our strongest ever passenger satisfaction scores.”