Slump in travel to eurozone crisis countries drags down BAA

Slump in travel to eurozone crisis countries drags down BAA

A slump in travel to the worst affected eurozone countries contributed to a marginal decline in passengers using BAA airports in May.

More than 9.3 million people passed through the company’s airports, a fall of 0.1% compared with May 2011.

Heathrow passenger numbers were down 0.6% to 5.8 million.

Most of this fall was due to last year’s late Easter and Royal Wedding which boosted traffic in May 2011, BAA said this morning. The move of the late May bank holiday into June this year reduced last months traffic figures.

But the impact of the eurozone crisis was seen in a drop in travel to the worst affected countries. Passengers between Heathrow and Greece were down 11.3% year on year, with numbers to and from Italy falling 9.2%, Portugal 11.4% and Spain 2.5%.

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: “The continued resilience of our airports in the face of economic turbulence is encouraging.

“But the impact of the eurozone crisis is still being felt with sharp falls in passenger numbers to the worst affected countries and reduced cargo traffic.

“This is why the UK needs to urgently build better links to the countries whose economies are growing such as China, India and Brazil.

“But with the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow, already full, France and Germany are forging ahead and we are being left behind.”

The number of passengers using Stansted fell by 5.5% with European scheduled and long haul traffic most affected.

“With a strong bias towards leisure traffic, the switch in the bank holiday and school half terms from their usual timing in late May to early June this year accounted for some of the fall,” BAA said.

Southampton airport numbers were 4.7% down, due largely to an 8.3% drop in European scheduled traffic.

Passengers using Glasgow airport rose almost 10%, Aberdeen saw numbers rise nearly 16% and Edinburgh handled 2.2% more. The Scottish airports all saw their performance affected by cancellations in May last year due to the volcanic ash cloud. Even after stripping out this effect Glasgow still saw a 6.2% increase thanks to a 33% rise in European scheduled traffic and Aberdeen rose by 13%.


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