NEW data has shown year on year passenger numbers are down 99.2 per cent at Stansted Airport.

The airport welcomed 2.6million passengers in May last year but that collapsed to just 20,607 in May this year, when the UK remained in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Just 13,708 passengers flew into Stansted in April, a 99.4 per cent fall from its busiest period on record in April 2019, when nearly 2.4 million passengers used it.

The travel sector has been among the hardest hit by coronavirus, with travel largely put on hold since March.

And airlines and airports are warning of significant harm if they are not soon allowed to fly to “low risk countries”.

However, latest flight data shows some revival – with the number of flights out of Stansted jumping from 18 to 60 between Friday and Sunday.

On Monday, there were 57 flights to destinations across Europe, including Ibiza and Corfu.

Ryanair was due to resume flights on July 1, but reopened some of its routes on June 21 – the same day Spain lifted its border restrictions.

To improve the security experience and help restore confidence in travel as the airport begins to see more people wanting to travel, passengers at Stansted may soon have the opportunity to pre-book a free 15-minute security slot.

The trial is being tested at Manchester Airport as part of a series of measures introduced by Stansted owner MAG to ensure passengers feel safer and more confident about travelling by air.

Last month, the airport group became the first to ask all passengers to cover their face either with face masks or with their own clothing.

All MAG colleagues interacting with passengers, are also required to wear the necessary protective equipment.

If successful, the technology will be put in place at Stansted.

Chief operating officer Brad Miller, said: “Safety and security will always be the first priority and, at the same time, Covid-19 will undoubtedly reshape the airport experience.

"We are exploring every innovation and technology that can help us to adapt to the new world, protect public health and restore confidence in air travel.

“This new measure will allow us to manage our security process more efficiently in these challenging times, providing a better and more comfortable experience for passengers.

"It is the latest in a series of measures introduced to make travel safer during the pandemic, which includes asking passengers and colleagues to wear face coverings and piloting temperature screening technologies.”