Stansted airport has been hit hard by low-cost airlines taking their business to other airports, BAA's latest figures confirm.
The number of air transport movements at Stansted fell by 11.7% in November, compared with the same month in 2009, while its passenger numbers fell by 7.6% year on year.
In a statement, BAA confirmed that “a reduction in low-cost airline capacity was the main factor behind the drop”.
The airport operator said the recovery in leisure traffic in particular remained “subdued”, partly because airlines are “relocating to foreign bases”.
No-frills airline Ryanair cut its capacity at the airport by 17% this winter, resulting in 140 fewer flights. It has moved the aircraft that were at Stansted to other European bases outside the UK.
Rival low-cost carrier Easyjet, however, increased its capacity at Stansted by 4.5% in November, compared to the same month in 2009.
When Ryanair announced the decision in July, it blamed the UK government’s attitude to aviation, as well as high airport fees.
At the time, Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary said the cut demonstrated how much air passenger duty was damaging UK tourism and the British economy.
“Sadly UK traffic and tourism continues to collapse while Ryanair continues to grow traffic rapidly in those countries which welcome tourists instead of taxing them,” he said.