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BAA Reports UK Airport Traffic for August 2009

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Heathrow Airport handled 6.4 million passengers in August 2009, up by 0.3% on 2008, its busiest ever August. Heathrow’s figures for August suggest that people are cutting back on discounted leisure travel, less than they are on business travel.

The significance of long-haul markets not only to UK business but also to UK society was illustrated by a 19% increase in traffic to India. The people and communities who use these routes to visit friends and family count on Heathrow as the only London airport that serves India.

The number of passengers transferring at Heathrow continued to rise, with travellers taking advantage of the shorter waiting times between connections at Heathrow, which come from the high frequency of services and the improved terminal facilities. The British Pound’s position against the dollar and euro has also helped Heathrow’s transfer business. Airline load factors grew by 2.7% to 81%.

In aggregate, BAA’s seven UK airports handled a total of 14.4 million passengers in August, a drop of 3.1% on the same month last year.

Around the airports, performance was mixed. There were again signs of a revival in European Scheduled traffic (+0.4%). Long Haul traffic, excluding North Atlantic, was up by 4%. North Atlantic traffic remained weak with a 7.7% drop on last August. Domestic traffic fell by 5.9%.

Gatwick’s performance is improving. While it recorded a 4.6% reduction against August 2008, it was the only airport to grow its domestic market (1.2%) and its important European scheduled traffic grew by 5.6%.

Edinburgh’s numbers are up for the fifth consecutive month (4.8%), helped by new low-cost scheduled services to Europe.

 Stansted recorded a drop of 7.8%, largely down to airline capacity reductions and Southampton’s figures fell by 3.7%.

 Glasgow recorded a 13.4% decrease in August, and Aberdeen was 9.8% down on last year.

For the group as a whole the number of air transport movements in August was 5.2% lower than a year ago when airlines were only beginning to respond to the downturn in traffic by cutting services.

 The drop in cargo tonnage (-7.5%) marked the first time since November 2008 that the decrease has been in single figures and August was the fourth consecutive month of reducing losses.

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