Monday, March 4, 2024

London airports Luton and Stansted cash in as travel demand holds

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Flights are suspended at London Luton Airport

London Luton and Stansted Airport are cashing on strong travel demand in early 2024, despite fears of a slowdown following last year’s post-Covid bounceback.

Stansted Airport reported record breaking numbers in January as it welcomed 1.95m passengers, up 6.9 per cent year-on-year.

The Essex hub’s most popular countries during the month were Spain, Italy and Poland, while the busiest routes were Dublin, Istanbul and Edinburgh.

Luton, meanwhile, said it expects more than half a million passengers over the February half term break, as holidaymakers flocked to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Lisbon and Paris.

The London hub’s bumper numbers signal travel demand is likely to keep pace with last summer’s post-pandemic bonanza, which saw consumer’s nourish a pent-up desire for holidays after years of travel restrictions.

Heathrow also reported passenger traffic at narrowly below pre-pandemic levels this morning, with some 6m passing through the hub.

That’s despite conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine and ongoing supply chain issues, which have both threatened to hit the aviation sector’s capacity.

Gareth Powell, London Stansted’s managing director, said: “I’m really pleased we were able to deliver yet another the strong passenger performance last month, welcoming more passengers in a January than ever before at London Stansted, and coming hot on the heels of a record-breaking December.

“The year ahead looks really exciting for everyone connected with London Stansted, and the millions of passengers who will continue to take advantage of the extensive choice, great value and convenience we are able offer.”

Clare Armstrong, head of guest experience at London Luton Airport, said: “Travel habits are becoming bigger, bolder and braver. We are seeing a steep rise in demand for ‘destination dupes’ with passengers abandoning expensive long-haul destinations for cheaper, more accessible alternative locations such as Albania, which has been dubbed the ‘Maldives of Europe’.”

“The frequency of daily flights is also fuelling demand from day-trippers looking for hassle-free 24-hour city breaks in places such as Malaga, Paris and Dublin,” she added.

Major carriers including Easyjet, Wizz Air and Ryanair have also forecast another busy summer. According to figures from aviation analytics firm the OAG, reported by the Financial Times, European airlines will have a record 817.5m seats available between April and October.

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