Heathrow Airport recorded its busiest September
ever, with an increase in long-haul journeys offering hope of an
improving international economy.
During September 2010 a total of 6,221,219
people flew from Heathrow, an increase of 7.6% (437,608) over
September 2009, the largest year-on-year monthly increase since
British foreign secretary William Hague last week
pledged support for "giving our country the myriad of connections
which will allow twenty-first century Britons to prosper and
succeed" - a comment welcomed by Heathrow and reflected in the
resurgence of long haul air travel.
Heathrow's BRIC routes
– to destinations not served from any other UK airport - saw
significant growth compared with last September. Brazil rose 27.1%
to 31,546 passengers, China rose 10.3% to 58,330 and Russia
increased by 23.7% to 70,021. India fell by 0.3% to 178,607.
Travellers from Heathrow to North America increased by 6.5%
(88,203) over last September to 1,442,193 with South America up
16.4% (6,769) to 47,973. The most popular routes were New York
(241,746), Dubai (153,319) and Dublin (134,500).
scheduled destinations from Heathrow continued to grow, increasing
11.7% (247,196) to 2,352,806. The most popular routes were to
Heathrow's main competitors, which are all hub airports: Frankfurt
(125,258 passengers), Amsterdam (123,808) and Paris (116,509).
The growth was also supported by the reinstatement of flights
previously removed from schedules and consolidated due to the recession and encouraging signs that business people are
travelling again, following disruption in the early part of the
year, caused by poor weather and the
volcanic ash cloud.
Across all of BAA's UK airports, 9,988,178 passengers travelled
during September - up 3.3% (320,370) from 9,667,808 last year.
Edinburgh rose 2.2% to 873,195 while Southampton remained level
rising to 174,570 from 174,501.
The decline in passenger
numbers at Stansted slowed from 6.1% in August to 4.3%, with
traffic falling 80,394 to 1,775,533 as a result of low-cost
carriers removing flights. Glasgow's traffic declined by 5.7%, and
Aberdeen by 5.1%, but these declines are contracting as carriers
fill the gaps in services left by the collapse of flyglobespan.
Cargo imports and exports continued to beat pre-recession levels, rising
11.8% across the group to 144,469 tonnes. Heathrow, the UK's
busiest freight port by value, shipped 123,680 tonnes, up 12.2% on
last September. Heathrow is particularly important to the exports
of low-weight, high-value goods: pharmaceuticals worth Ł0.8
billion, for example, were exported to the US via Heathrow in
“Heathrow's record September figures underline
that transport links are vital to our economy. The growth reflects
an improved outlook for our airline customers and an increase in
business confidence, as shown by cargo figures which continue to
outperform the pre-recession peak,” said Colin Matthews, chief
executive of BAA. “Our Ł1 billion-a-year investment
programme continues, in order to offer our growing numbers of
passengers a quicker, easier and more enjoyable travel experience.
We have much still to do but are pleased to see a steady
improvement in passenger perceptions of the airport.”
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