Weak holiday market dents BAA figures

A drop in passengers using Stansted and regional airports during August overshadowed a strong performance by Heathrow, figures from BAA have shown.

The airports operator blamed a weak outbound holiday market and economic uncertainty for a slump in leisure traffic.

The company’s UK airports handled 10.6 million passengers last month, down by of 0.6% on August last year. Cuts in airline capacity saw Stansted suffer a 6.1% drop in passengers carried. 

Glasgow suffered an 8.4% decline in capacity which was the major factor behind a 9.4% drop in passengers.
Edinburgh’s traffic reduced by 0.2% overall, but European traffic grew by 9.4%. Aberdeen and Southampton suffered decreases of 4.0% and 1.0% respectively.

However, Heathrow achieved its busiest August and second busiest month on record with 2.5% more people (6.5 million) using the London hub.
The main driver of growth at Heathrow was European scheduled traffic, which was up by 10.4% on the back of an 8.3% increase in seat capacity compared with August 2009. 

BAA said: “Relative to other UK airports, Heathrow benefited from its greater exposure to the business travel sector, while the other UK airports in the group depend more on the currently weak UK outbound leisure market, which continues to be adversely affected by the continuing economic uncertainty that has led to casualties among smaller UK tour operators.”
In total, BAA’s UK airports handled 0.5% more landings and take-offs than a year earlier, with Heathrow up by 3.5%.


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