Ryanair calls for action after passenger slump at Stansted Airport

BUDGET airline Ryanair has called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to scrap the �10 tourist tax.The move comes after airport operator BAA, which runs Stansted Airport in Essex, announced its passenger figures for March which showed an 11 per cent decline i

BUDGET airline Ryanair has called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to scrap the �10 tourist tax.

The move comes after airport operator BAA, which runs Stansted Airport in Essex, announced its passenger figures for March which showed an 11 per cent decline in traffic to/from the UK.

Ryanair is urging the Government to follow the recent examples of Belgium and Holland, which scrapped their tourist taxes to encourage tourism.

Ryanair's Stephen McNamara said: "British passenger traffic has collapsed and Gordon Brown must reverse hi s suicidal �10 tourist tax to address the rapid loss of passenger traffic, the loss of billions in tourism revenues and taxes and the loss of thousands of jobs.


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"The UK must look to Europe where Belgium and Holland have reversed their decision to tax tourists and are now welcoming them once more. Gordon Brown must encourage inward tourism growth by welcoming tourists - not taxing them."

BAA's UK airports handled a total of 10.6 million passengers in March, a reduction of 11.3 per cent against the same month last year.

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Around two to three per cent can be attributed to the fact that, in 2008, the Easter travel peak centred around the third weekend of March whereas this year the main peak will not have begun until April.

European scheduled traffic was down by 11 per cent and UK domestic by 8.6 per cent. North Atlantic traffic was 17.6 per cent lower while other long-haul routes recorded a collective drop of 5.6 per cent in passengers.

Heathrow remained the most resilient, with traffic declining by only 7.5 per cent. This is partly because of Heathrow's greater share of stronger long-haul markets, but is also due to rising numbers of transfer passengers, which underpin the airport's role as the UK's hub airport.

Gatwick was down by 17.7 per cent, Stansted by 15.9 per cent, Glasgow by 13 per cent and Southampton by 12.3 per cent.

In contrast, Edinburgh was 3.6 per cent lower compared to last year and Aberdeen dipped by 8.1 per cent.

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