The airport operator attributed this to last year’s extra day for leap year – on a 28-day like-for-like basis, passenger numbers were up 24,000 and 1.4% on last February – and a temporary reduction in capacity on some Ryanair routes over the winter season previously reported.
Aircraft load factors remained strong with an average 86.5% of all available seats occupied on every flight, a record for the month of February. This beat the previous high of 84.9% set last year.
In the 12 months ending February 2017, Stansted’s total passenger numbers grew by 6.1% over the previous year with the moving annual total now standing at 24.3 million.
Andrew Cowan, Stansted Airport’s CEO, said: “The slight drop in passenger numbers during February was anticipated due to the effects of the additional leap year day in 2016 and a temporary reduction in flight frequencies on some Ryanair routes at the tail end of the winter season as previously indicated by the airline last year.
“However, we have already seen this year Ryanair announce a host of new services and increased capacity on a range of popular routes for the summer season as well as British Airways confirming they will offer even more services from Stansted this year.
“This is in addition to Jet2.com preparing to launch its first ever flight and holiday programme in the south-east from Stansted at the end of the month, so we are extremely confident we will see strong growth return and the airport top 25 million passengers a year for the first time in the very near future.”