Ryanair could restart growth at London Stansted as early as September if a new deal on charges can be agreed with the airport's new owners.
The Irish budget carrier is in talks with Manchester Airports Group and will look to scale up at Stansted "if a competitive cost base emerges". This follows Ryanair's decision in February to cut traffic at Stansted by 9% in response to what it called a "surprise" 6% hike in charges introduced under the airport's previous management, BAA.
The carrier is seeking to downplay the news that rival EasyJet intends to more than double its passenger volumes at Stansted in the next five years. "We welcome EasyJet's return to Stansted, after they left and went to Southend," says Ryanair. "However, they'll need to lower their high fares if they want to compete with Ryanair at Stansted. EasyJet plans to grow from 2.8 million to six million passengers [per annum] and increase their 16% share of Stansted's traffic, where Ryanair will deliver over 13 million passengers this year, some 75% of Stansted's traffic."
Manchester Airports Group acquired Stansted from BAA in February for £1.5 billion ($2.3 billion).