No-frills airline Ryanair is cutting the number of flights it makes from Stansted airport because it says it is too expensive.
The company has also criticised the service provided by airport operator BAA.
But BAA has hit back and said its charges are among the lowest in Europe.
Stansted is one of seven UK airports run by operator BAA, although Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has called for a break-up of the group.
Ryanair complained that charges at the airport had doubled since April and that many of the 17 security machines are regularly unmanned during peak morning periods.
It claimed that understaffing at passport control continues to cause long queues and frequent passenger delays.
It added: ‘This winter we will sit seven of our 40 Stansted based aircraft on the ground because Stansted’s higher airport charges make it more profitable to ground these aircraft during the winter rather than fly them.
‘This will mean reduced frequency or temporary cessation of services on routes which would be loss making due to Stansted’s higher airport charges.’
Ryanair made its criticisms as the company posted record profits of 138.9 million euros (£93.8 million) for the three months to 30 June, 20 per cent higher than last year.
BAA said it would like to congratulate Ryanair on yet another record profit announcement and said that Stansted’s charges remain amongst the lowest in Europe and within limits set by the Civil Aviation Authority.
A spokeswoman added: ‘As this announcement proves, Ryanair is one of the most successful airlines in the world and the success of its base here at Stansted has helped it become as successful as it is today.
‘Ryanair must also recognise the value of this relationship as only last month it launched two new routes from here and announced another that will begin in the autumn.
‘It is also worth highlighting that Stansted has invested in more than 300 additional security staff since last summer and completed a £2-million extension to the security search area. And, we feel it is more important to work together to help the passenger rather than pick apart the process.’