Regional airports achieve 70% growth in corporate business

Regional airports achieve 70% growth in corporate business

THE NUMBER of business travellers who use regional airports has risen by almost 70% in the past year, according to a recent survey by Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

The business travel agency's survey shows that, while Heathrow is still the dominant airport, many business travellers are beginning to take advantage of the convenience of smaller regional airports.

The greatest growth over the past 12 months has been achieved by Humberside Airport, which experienced a 69% increase in traffic booked through Carlson Wagonlit.

Much of this growth is due to Air France's introduction of double-daily flights to Paris in May.

The airport also serves Amsterdam three times a day and a number of domestic flights to UKairports such as Aberdeen.

The number of Carlson Wagonlit clients travelling to Luton Airport has risen by 47% in the past year, while Birmingham saw a 14% increase.

In contrast, the UK's top three airports, Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick, saw relatively small increases in CarlsonWagonlit passengers, between 5%-6%. Carlson Wagonlit vice-president Jim Tweedie said:"With the need for companies to continually reduce business travel overheads, regional airports are a realistic option to achieving this goal. With capacity at Heathrow reaching a maximum, airport such as Stansted offer a convenient alternative for travel to London."

He added that business travel agents who live near regional airports find it more convenient to travel to and from them.

Looking ahead, Carlson Wagonlit claims Stansted and London City are set to outperform many competitors next year.

Stansted has just received approval from the Government to increase take-off and landings from 120,000 to 185,000 flights per year, taking the number of passengers to 15m a year, while London City has announced major expansion plans for 2000.

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