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11 December, 2018 - 23:34 By Kate Sweeney

Christmas factor boosts Stansted Airport

Stansted is set to be the fourth busiest airport in the UK this Christmas with 156,673 people scheduled to land and 156,713 due to depart over a five-day window.

December 23 is the busiest day with 238 flights scheduled to arrive compared to 173 on Christmas Eve.

The figures come courtesy of Buyagift which commissioned a study using worldwide aviation data. Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester are the three airports above Stansted.

Buyagift says that between December 21 and 25 a total of 69,330,024 people around the world will be taking to the skies, heading home to families for Christmas Day.

Among them are nurses, soldiers, and business people – some flying thousands of miles for family festivities. Of those, 1.8 million will be heading to the UK – making it the eighth busiest country for Christmas air travel.

Most flights into Stansted are from Spain, followed by the United States and then Germany.

The top 20 busiest airports globally at Christmas will be Beijing Capital International, followed by Dubai International, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Intl, Tokyo Int (Haneda) and Los Angeles International. The figures place Heathrow 11th in the top 20.

The US is named as the busiest nation for in-country flights. During the five days before Christmas 118,844 flights will be arriving across America – more than 10 times the UK figure. The UK is eighth in the top 10 for in-country flights.

A record breaking 1.98 million passengers passed through London Stansted in November, up 8.7 per cent on 2017.

The airport’s busiest November saw 158,000 more passengers use Stansted than in the same month last year, with load factors – the average number of seats occupied on each flight – reaching 87 per cent, the second highest ever total for November after 2016.

The countries recording the strongest growth during the month compared to November 2017 were Austria, Turkey, Portugal and France while domestic routes including Edinburgh and Belfast also reported significant increases in passenger numbers.

Traffic was also boosted by the recent arrival of new airlines launching new services including Laudamotion’s twice daily flights to Vienna and Pobeda Airlines’ four flights a week to Saint Petersburg.

The 12-month moving total now stands at over 27.8 million, an increase of 7.3 per cent over the previous year.

Stansted chief executive Ken O’Toole, said: “The first full month of the winter flight schedules and high airline load factors produced another strong performance in terms of passenger growth at London Stansted, and the busiest November for the airport on record.

“The growth trend will continue over the coming weeks as we prepare for our busiest ever festive getaway when we expect to welcome nearly 1.2 million passengers to the airport between 21 December and 6 January.

“To ensure all our passengers enjoy a stress-free start to their holidays we will have additional staff on hand in the terminal supporting colleagues working around the clock over the festive period to provide the best possible service and airport experience.”

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