BAA’s UK airports handled a total of 10.6 million
passengers in March 2009, a reduction of 11.3% against the same month
Around 2-3% points of the reduction can be attributed to the
fact that, in 2008, the Easter travel peak centred around the third
weekend of March whereas this year the main peak did not commence until
This would imply that the underlying rate of decrease in
March which can be attributed to the difficult economic conditions was
in the range of 8-9%.
European scheduled traffic was down by
11% and UK domestic by 8.6%. North Atlantic traffic was 17.6% lower
while other long haul routes recorded a collective drop of 5.6% in
passengers. Balanced against those reductions, across the group,
passenger traffic to India increased by 1.8%, 0.1% to the Middle East
and 8.9% to South America.
Among individual airports, Heathrow
remains the most resilient, with traffic declining by only 7.5% (not
taking account of the Easter effect). This is partly because of
Heathrow's greater share of stronger long-haul markets, but is also due
to rising numbers of transfer passengers, which underpin the airport's
role as the UK's hub airport.
At other individual airports, not
surprisingly it was those with the largest elements of leisure traffic
which experienced the biggest traffic reductions in March. Gatwick was
down by 17.7%, Stansted by 15.9%, Glasgow by 13% and Southampton by
12.3%. In contrast, Edinburgh was 3.6% lower compared to last year and
Aberdeen dipped by 8.1%.
In total, the number of air transport
movements at BAA airports was 4.1% down on last March, however, Heathrow
and Aberdeen both had increases of 1.7% and 1.2% respectively. Cargo
tonnage decreased by a total of 15.7%.
Contextually, on 8 April
2009, the Airports Council International (Europe) reported that: “As
further evidence of the unprecedented impact of the economic crisis, the
latest traffic report from ACI Europe – the voice of Europe’s airports,
reveals a decrease of -13.6% in the overall passenger traffic at
European airports in February 2009 compared with February 2008.”
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