BAA’s seven UK airports handled a total of 13 million
passengers in September 2009, 2.6% down on last year and a similar year
on year result to that achieved in July and August. In March this
year, traffic across the UK airports was down 11.3%, so recent
figures suggest that while underlying market conditions remain
soft, there are some signs of a recovery.
Heathrow Airport’s passenger traffic remained
stable in the month of September 2009, showing a marginal decrease of 0.3% on
September 2008. A 5% drop in aircraft movements and significantly
improved capacity utilisation led to a sharp increase in load
factor from 73.9% in September 2008 to 78.2% this September.
While Gatwick Airport’s
overall numbers were
down by 0.5% in September – the best year on year result since May
2008 – the airport recorded strong growth in important domestic
and European scheduled markets (+5.8% and +8.7% respectively).
Excluding North American traffic, which continues to be affected
by the Open Skies agreement leading US airlines to relocate to
Heathrow, passenger numbers grew 1.5% and the year on year effect
of Open Skies will moderate significantly from October.
11% reduction in seat capacity flown at Stansted was matched by an
almost identical decrease in passengers of 11.6%. Edinburgh
Airport’s numbers grew for the sixth successive month (+3.8%),
largely down to new low-cost scheduled European services. Glasgow
Airport declined 8.9% and Aberdeen by 5.3%, both showing slower
rates of decline. Southampton recorded a 4.6% drop.
, said, “Conditions remain
challenging for the industry. Heathrow continues to perform well
in its market, delivering strong long-haul performance on routes
to India and the Middle East,” said Colin Matthews, BAA’s chief
executive. “At Gatwick there are
encouraging signs of growth, particularly in the European
scheduled business and the overall numbers around the group appear
to be improving.”
For the Ggroup as a whole in September
major market areas recorded decreases with the exception of
long-haul markets such as India (+15.7%), the Middle East (+18%)
and South America (+33%).
The number of air transport
movements at BAA’s airports fell by 6.1% in September and cargo
tonnage (-6.3%) dropped by a similar amount. Although still weak,
the cargo result was the best recorded since November 2008.
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