BAA’s six airports saw a 9.2% pick up in passengers in May with Heathrow and Edinburgh handling record numbers in the month.
The company’s airports handled 9.3 million passengers, 400,000 more than May last year, with Heathrow accounting for 5.9 million and Edinburgh 826,000. Heathrow’s passenger numbers grew by 11.6% over May 2010 which was affected by volcanic ash and industrial action.
Accounting for these impacts leaves Heathrow with an estimated underlying 5.2% increase for May. For the year to date Heathrow’s traffic is up 9.8% with underlying growth of 2.7%. The annual total number of passengers at Heathrow topped 68 million for the first time.
This is an indication “that exposure to the global economic recovery continues to support activity at the UK’s only hub airport,” BAA said. The late Easter holidays and Royal Wedding led to more passengers at the start of the month while the Grimsvotn eruption in Iceland led to a “marginal” decrease in traffic.
Stripping out the negative effects of events in 2010, the group recorded underlying growth of 1.7% in the year to date, BAA said. Stansted saw its second consecutive monthly rise (0.7%) for the first time since October 2007, although on a year to date basis the underlying decline is 4%. This reflected the transfer of capacity by low-cost airlines to continental Europe.
Southampton’s traffic was down 1.1% in the month, and down 7% on an underlying year to date basis, largely as a result of a drop in European scheduled traffic.
Edinburgh and Aberdeen recorded double digit increases in the month – 13.7% and 11.8% respectively – with underlying growth for the year to date of 6.9% and 7.0% respectively.
Traffic at Glasgow increased 7% while the underlying growth for the year to date was 1.3%.
BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: “Demand is particularly strong on the long-haul routes that connect UK businesses to fast-growing economies around the world.”
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