BAA’s UK airports handled a total of 11.4 million passengers in March, a decrease of 1.3 percent on the previous year. The underlying trend was distorted by this year’s late Easter.
For the financial year ending in March 2006, BAA’s UK airports handled 144.6 million passengers, a 2.0% increase over 2004/05.
For March 2006, Domestic traffic was also hit by cancellations caused by heavy snow early in the month in Scotland and the North East. Among other markets, European scheduled, fell 0.4%, and European charter decreased 15.4%. North Atlantic traffic was down slightly on recent trends with a drop of 2.8%, but other long haul traffic advanced 4.6%.
Heathrow’s 3.8% drop in March took its year end total to 67.4 million, a decrease of 0.3%. The softening UK economy, the fallout from the London bombings in July, the Gate Gourmet dispute in late summer, lower load factors in some markets, and higher oil prices, all had an impact on Heathrow’s passenger numbers for the year.
Gatwick, however, had its best year on record, with 32.8 million passengers passing through the airport, up 2.6 % on last year. This was despite at 0.1% decrease in the March total. Stansted recorded an increase of 1.3% in March, giving an annual total of 22.2 million, up 5.0% on the previous year.
Over the year, Southampton achieved an increase of 20.1% to 1.9 million, helped by a 5.2% gain in March. Glasgow increased by 2.4% over the year to a total of 8.8 million following an increase of 1.2% in March. The equivalent figures at Edinburgh were an annual growth of 5.6% and a 0.8% rise in March. The strongest annual growth among the Scottish airports was the 9.5% increase at Aberdeen, helped by an 11.5% increase in March.
During the month, BAA’s UK airports recorded a 3.0% increase in air transport movements, up 3.5% for the year, and a 5.8% rise in cargo tonnage, an 0.8% annual increase.
For the year as a whole Domestic and European scheduled markets were up by 1.3% and 3.4% respectively, while European charters were 10.2% lower. North Atlantic traffic was unchanged and other long haul routes recorded an increase of 7.3%.