Lower Stansted passenger numbers recently shows there is no urgency for agreement to allow expansion
After 63 consecutive months of year-on-year growth, Stansted Airport has posted a reduction in passenger numbers in each of the past three months (July, August, September). Passenger numbers were down 0.5% in July, down 3.7% in August and down 2.7% in September, compared to a year earlier. The overall reduction over the 3 month period was some 200,000 passengers, equivalent to a year on year decline of 2.3%. Luton posted a 7.3% increase for three months to 31 August with 5.3 million passengers. (Luton and other airport numbers from the CAA for September are not yet available). One reason for the fall in numbers at Stansted is the late arrival of Boeing 737 Max planes to Ryanair. Stansted’s passenger numbers are also expected to be down in October, partly due to the collapse of Thomas Cook at the end of September. Stansted’s cargo tonnage was down with a loss of 28,000 tonnes (11%) on a year-on-year basis, with the number of cargo aircraft using Stansted is down 6% compared to 2018. All that shows there is NO urgency to allow Stansted higher annual passenger numbers. SSE said: “At the very least, Uttlesford District Council should do nothing until we all know the outcome of SSE’s legal challenge in the High Court, which takes place from 12th to 14th November.”
STANSTED AIRPORT GOES OFF THE BOIL
19th October 2019
From Stop Stansted Expansion
After 63 consecutive months of year-on-year growth, Stansted Airport has posted a reduction in passenger numbers in each of the past three months. Passenger numbers were down 0.5% in July, down 3.7% in August and down 2.7% in September. The overall reduction over the three month period was some 200,000 passengers, equivalent to a year on year decline of 2.3%. [Note 1]
In sharp contrast, Stansted’s biggest rival, Luton, posted a 7.3% increase for three months to 31 August with 5.3 million passengers. Heathrow – which is already, effectively, at full capacity – also achieved a small increase (0.7%) handling 22.7 million passengers in the same three months, whilst Gatwick was level at 14.2 million passengers. [Note 2]
It is understood that part of the reason for Stansted’s decline in recent months is the non delivery of new Boeing 737 Max aircraft to Ryanair. All Boeing 737 Max aircraft have been grounded since March following two fatal crashes. It is not yet known when (or if) these safety problems can be satisfactorily resolved to allow Boeing to recommence aircraft production and deliveries to Ryanair, which accounts for four out of every five passengers at Stansted.
Stansted’s passenger numbers are also expected to be down in October, partly due to the collapse of Thomas Cook at the end of September.
Stansted’s cargo business is also substantially down with a loss of 28,000 tonnes (11%) on a year-on-year basis, with the result that the number of cargo aircraft using Stansted is down 6% compared to last year
SSE Chairman Peter Sanders commented: “These latest Stansted Airport traffic figures, showing declines across the board in passenger numbers, flights and cargo activities, demonstrate the nonsense of ‘Project Fear’ whereby Stansted Airport and some local business leaders were seeking to panic Uttlesford District Council into a hasty approval of the airport’s expansion plans. There is no question of growth being stifled.”
Peter Sanders continued: “We have consistently pointed out the Stansted Airport Planning Application for 43 million passengers a year (54% more than in 2018) was premature. There is absolutely no rush for any decision. At the very least, Uttlesford District Council should do nothing until we all know the outcome of SSE’s legal challenge in the High Court, which takes place from 12th-14th November.”
Note 1: The relevant Stansted traffic statistics are available on the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee website at http://www.stacc.info/wp-
Note 2: Luton, Heathrow and Gatwick traffic figures are not yet available from the CAA for September 2019 which is the reason for using the three month period from 1st June to 31st August.
FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT
Independent legal advice says the 2018 decision on Stansted Airport expansion should be reconsidered by Uttlesford Council
Stop Stansted Expansion say the 2018 Stansted Airport Planning Application should be considered entirely afresh. That’s the verdict of leading planning barrister Paul Stinchcombe QC in an independent legal opinion prepared for Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE). In the interests of transparency the full (25-page) legal advice is now published today and will be available online at http://stopstanstedexpansion.com/ The QC’s opinion sets out the key precedents in planning law and confirms that Uttlesford District Council (UDC) is lawfully entitled to reconsider the entire Planning Application even if there have been no material changes in circumstances or any relevant new considerations. However, a number of new material factors which have arisen since the Application was provisionally approved last year mean there is not only an entitlement to reconsider, but an obligation to do so. The QC’s advice explains that, provided there are good planning reasons, the new Planning Committee could quite lawfully and reasonably reach a different planning judgment from the former Committee who, by the slenderest of margins provisionally approved the Application last November.
CLIMATE CHANGE: Deeds must now match words, by Uttlesford Council, on Stansted expansion
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has strongly welcomed the resolution by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to declare a climate and ecological emergency and to commit to achieving net zero carbon status by 2030. The resolution was approved by an overwhelming majority of local councillors on 30 July 2019. SSE says the challenge now is for Uttlesford Council to convert words into deeds; its biggest challenge is Stansted’s insatiable appetite for expansion. Unless the Council acts on its climate resolution, it is just hollow words, an empty gesture. Allowing Stansted to expand from 35mppa to 43mppa would mean the airport becoming almost as large as Gatwick. Stansted’s emissions in 2019 will be about 2.1 MtCO2. That would rise to about 2.7 MtCO2 per year, with the planned expansion. Other sectors of the economy have to cut carbon; aviation should not be allowed unrestricted growth. SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said that, on an issue as important as this for future generations, councillors should do the right thing. “History will remember those who fight for what they believe to be right long after it has forgotten those who gave way on such a vital issue.”
Stansted planning application going back to the Uttlesford Planning Committee – SSE says it’s the right decision, legally, procedurally and democratically
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has welcomed the decision by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) on Friday 28 June to refer the 2018 Stansted Airport planning application – to increase passengers from 35m to 43 mppa – back to the Planning Committee for further consideration. Local campaign SSE (Stop Stansted Expansion) said this is vital due to all the outstanding issues. The proposal to refer the application back to the Planning Committee was tabled by 2 councillors from the Residents for Uttlesford (‘R4U’) party which took control of the Council in May. R4U Leader John Lodge also supported the proposal as did the leader of the Liberal Democrats. The proposal to re-consider the application received overwhelming cross-party support with 31 councillors voting in favour, only one against and one abstention. There was loud applause from the packed public gallery when the result of the vote was announced in the Council chamber. Many of those present had signed the residents’ petition calling for the application to be referred back to the Planning Committee for further consideration – signed by 1,700 people. The application was initially approved, (only by the Chairman’s casting vote) in a very unsatisfactory and flawed decision, in October 2018