Cuts in night flight limits would have a damaging economic impact, Stansted warns.
Reductions would also lead to flights moving to airports with a greater environmental impact, the airport claims in its response to the Department for Transport’s consultation on night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted which closes this week.
The Essex airport’s head of public affairs and sustainable development Chris Wiggan said: “As the UK economy improves and passenger and freight movements continue to grow at Stansted, it is vital that government recognises this potential and retains our full night flight quota limit.
“Whilst we understand that night noise is an important issue for airport communities, a reduction in the limit would have a damaging effect on the UK economy and only serve to transfer movements to airports with greater environmental impacts.”
He added: “Stansted is unique in the southeast as the only airport with a dedicated freight as well as a passenger operation. Over 1,000 people are employed in the freight operation, 500 alone at FedEx’s UK base at Stansted.
“The speed of delivery that air freight can offer is an increasingly important factor for many modern businesses, especially where just-in-time practices and high value commodities are concerned.
“Night flights are not only critical to the express freight industry, they are important for passenger services and support the operations of affordable leisure and long-haul travel.
“Airlines like Ryanair and easyJet rely on flying in the early and late hours to maximise efficiency of their aircraft to help keep ticket prices down for passengers.
“It is also vital that any future night flights regime takes into consideration the Airports Commission process and supports airports in making the best use of available runway capacity in the UK over the short and medium term.”
He claimed that since the current night regime began in 2007, Stansted has made “significant strides” to reduce its noise footprint with the introduction of the latest generation of quieter and more efficient aircraft.
“It’s essential that government policy strikes the right balance between the economic, environmental and social impacts of aviation,” said Wiggan. “In striking this balance government should take full account of the critical role Stansted airport and night flights play in supporting the growth of the economy, both in our region and the UK as a whole.”
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