Passengers numbers at Stansted airport in Essex have fallen by 600,000 in the first nine months of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011. Between January and September 13.5 million passengers passed through the terminal. The previous year there were 14.1 million passengers in the 9 months.
The airport's core European traffic was down 2% and the Olympic games had a slight impact. The budget airline Easyjet also movedthree aircraft to serve its new routes from Southend.
The owner of Stansted airport, Heathrow (SP) Limited,used to be known as BAA. It is currently in the process of sellingStansted after deciding not to appeal against a Competition Commission ruling.
The company's other airport at Heathrow has seen passenger numbers rise from 52.6 million to 53 million between January and September.
Heathrow (SP) Limited said that Stansted had high load factors with aircraft more than 80% full which suggested demand was holding up.
Stansted is the fourth busiest airport in the UK and its top international destinations are Dublin, Alicante, Malaga and Rome. It employs more than 10,000 people.
In recent years there have been campaigns both for and against airport expansion and the building of a second runway. The government has currently ruled out expansion at Stansted but is reviewing airport capacity in the south east of England.