Credit squeeze pinches UK airports

Rising fuel costs and the credit squeeze have hit activity at UK airports operated by BAA. Passengers figures across the board remain lacklustre with the biggest fall in domestic traffic (5% lower in August 2008 compared to the same month last year).
Stansted and Glasgow were among the weakest performing BAA-operated airports (down 4.7% and 5.2% respectively), whilst Heathrow the strongest - traffic fell just 0.2%, helped by a 15.6% increase in North Atlantic traffic as a result of Open Skies.

The airports handled a total of 14.9 million passengers in August 2008, a drop of 1.7% on the same month last year.

Year to date BAA’s UK airports traffic shows a decline of 0.8%. The trend in figures year to date is driven by the 5% drop in domestic traffic versus a marginal increase in the most profitable long haul traffic (+1%) and virtual stagnation of European flights (-0.5%).

The pattern of August traffic between key markets also followed the recently established trend with a increase in North Atlantic long haul traffic (+1.3%) versus stagnation in European activity (-1%) and in domestic traffic (-6.5%).

Gatwick fell by 1.2%, where a 13.7% gain in European scheduled traffic was not enough to offset the 29.3% drop in North Atlantic traffic due to the shift of long haul traffic to Heathrow in the wake of Open Skies.


Stansted recorded a drop of 4.7%. In Scotland, Edinburgh was just 1% lower, but Glasgow and Aberdeen dropped by 5.2% and 5.4% respectively.

Cargo tonnage was up overall by 1%, with Heathrow recording an increase of 9.8%. In total BAA Group airports handled 3% fewer air transport movements in August.