The UK airports owned and operated by BAA
handled a total of 11.8 million passengers in May 2009, a drop of
7.3% on the same month last year. Heathrow recorded a smaller drop
of 3.9%, again demonstrating the resilience and importance of
Britain’s international hub airport.
This remains consistent with the underlying
traffic trends recorded since December last year, providing more
evidence that demand conditions remain weak but are not changing
Among the major market segments European
scheduled traffic was down by 5.2% and North Atlantic traffic by
9.1%, while other long haul routes recorded a collective 1.8%
decrease. The results in both long haul segments represented
slight improvements on recent underlying trends while European
scheduled performance was unchanged.
Domestic traffic was down by 10%, a slight
worsening on recent months, but despite falling by 20.5% European
charter traffic actually improved on its recent underlying trend.
Edinburgh was the only airport to record an
increase (+1.4%), helped by new low-cost services. This is the
second consecutive month in which Edinburgh’s traffic has grown.
Elsewhere, Gatwick improved on recent trends
with a decrease of 6.5%. The improvement in Gatwick’s position can
be attributed to part of the impact of Open Skies now being
included in the 2008 data to which current performance is compared
and a strengthened summer schedule. Traffic at Stansted fell by
18.5%, as some airlines continued to reduce capacity in response
to the difficult economic conditions.
Taking the three London airports together, the
reduction measured 7.4%. Glasgow’s 11.7% drop continued the
pattern of the last six months, Aberdeen recorded a 14.1% decline
and Southampton’s traffic was down 12.5%.
In total the number of air transport movements
was 8% lower (Heathrow -2.9%).
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