Coronavirus one year on: Stansted suffers 95% drop in passengers

London Stansteds terminal building Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

Stansted Airport lost 95% of its March footfall year-on-year - Credit: Archant

Stansted Airport suffered a 95 percent drop in footfall year-on-year, its operators have revealed but cargo rose by 53 percent.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the airport's operator, released statistics on Wednesday (April 21) highlighting the impact of coronavirus restrictions on the passenger aviation industry.

The Covid-19 "stay at home" restrictions came into force on March 23, 2020.

Stansted, which is the UK's fourth-busiest UK airport, handled more than 800,000 passengers in March last year. Last month, it handled just 44,259, a 95 percent drop.

In addition, the figures showed passenger traffic is 97.9 percent down from March 2019.

The pre-pandemic figures show 2,108,749 passengers passed through the terminal that month.

The total tonnes of cargo rose 53.3 percent at Stansted.

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The news comes just three weeks before international travel restrictions are expected to ease on May 17, a date which is yet to be confirmed.

Charlie Cornish, MAG CEO, said: "After more than a year of almost total shutdown – and with so many jobs and so much economic value at stake – it’s really important we get people moving again once it is safe to do so.

"We now need Government to confirm the May 17 start date as soon as possible, along with the list of countries that fall into each ‘traffic light’ category.”

He added: "The UK government is among the first to have set out proposals for a system that enables international travel to resume and should be applauded for taking the lead."

Stansted Airport is the region's largest single-site employer.

The airport houses and works with more than 200 businesses.

Mr Cornish now says the government needs to answer questions over the need for excessive Covid testing.

He called on the government to trust other countries' data and lead coordinated international recovery.

He said: "The price tag attached to testing will hold back the recovery and hinder the sector’s ability to power the UK’s economic revival as a whole."