The immediate sale of Stansted by owner BAA is being demanded by Ryanair on the back of the latest drop in passenger figures.

The budget carrier repeated its call for the Essex airport to be offloaded following BAA figures released last week showed a 5.5% drop in passengers in May over the same month last year.

This has resulted in a loss of 500,000 passengers in the first five months of 2012.

“While Stansted traffic declines, Heathrow and Gatwick’s traffic has grown which proves that the BAA monopoly is damaging Stansted and harming consumers,” Ryanair claimed.

BAA is appealing for the seventh time against the Competition Commission’s call for Stansted to be sold.

A Ryanair spokesman said: “The BAA’s traffic figures show continued declines at Stansted due to its high costs and airport mismanagement.

“These declining passenger numbers provide further evidence of the urgent need to expedite the BAA’s sale of Stansted airport, as first recommended by the UK Competition Commission back in 2008, over four years ago.

“The sale of Stansted into separate ownership will lead to more competition, lower passenger charges, improved passenger services and the roll out of additional and much needed traffic growth at competitive prices in Stansted.”