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London Stansted has geared up for a landmark summer season with an 8.1 per cent year-on-year increase in passenger numbers in April – equivalent to 177,000 additional passengers in the month.
The airport contributed to its owner MAG’s growth of 2.7 per cent during the same period.
Growth at Stansted, which served 2.4 million passengers in April, was bolstered by new services to New York with Primera Air, Reykjavik with Wow Air and Bastia & Ajaccio with Air Corsica.
As well as Dubai, other new long-haul destinations still to launch from Stansted this summer include Washington DC, Boston and Toronto.
At the same time, Stansted’s short haul offering is gathering apace with Ryanair, Jet2.com and easyJet’s networks being complemented by new additions this year such as Wideroe and Air Corsica.
Meanwhile, Emirates’ new daily service to Dubai, which will launch in June, will mark the first time that Stansted has a direct link to a Middle Eastern hub airport and will open up 150 new route options for passengers in the east of England wishing to travel east to the Middle East and Asia.
Stansted’s growth also comes despite the Easter weekend falling partially in March this year, meaning that April included only two busy bank holiday days this year compared with four last year.
This contributed to Manchester Airport’s traffic in April declining slightly year on year (down two per cent) but growth is expected to gather pace from May as airlines ramp up their summer timetable.
The airport has handled 27.8 million passengers in the last twelve months, 4.9 per cent up on the same period a year ago.
East Midlands Airport handled the same number of passengers that it did a year ago, despite the Easter effect, seeing 405,198 passengers through its doors in April, compared with 406,505 last year.
Ken O’Toole, chief executive, London Stansted Airport, said: “London Stansted will be the fastest growing London airport in 2018 and this record April is just the start of a very busy summer to come.
“With limited spare capacity at other airports in the south-east, Stansted will deliver 50 per cent of London’s expected passenger growth over the next decade.
“Given this anticipated growth, we have applied for permission to raise the number of passengers we serve to 43 million a year, with a firm commitment to do so without any additional flights or noise impacts beyond our current permissions.
“We are also investing heavily to ensure the passenger experience is an efficient, comfortable one even as we continue to grow.
“We have recently opened 12 new check-in desks and are adding additional seating and restaurant facilities in time for the summer peak.
“This investment coupled with our new and existing range of airlines and destinations will bring even more passengers to Stansted in the coming months.”