UK Airports Recovery Update

BAA`s seven UK airports handled a total of 8 million passengers in January 2002, a fall of 3.9% against the same month last year, which, as indicated in the third quarter results, represents continued recovery on the results of October -12.0%, November -10.6% and December -6.4%.
The gradual recovery extends across all major markets. North Atlantic and domestic traffic showed the strongest improvement and were down in January by -10.1% and -2.7% respectively. This compares with -13.0% and -6.5% in December. Other long haul traffic also improved, down -4.7% in January compared with -6.0% in December. Heavy discounting by airlines on Irish routes resulted in strong Irish traffic growth of +10.9%.

Among individual airports, traffic at Stansted grew +17.2%, Glasgow was up +4.3% and Edinburgh added +10.2%. Growth at these airports has continued to be buoyed by strong marketing by low fare scheduled carriers.

Heathrow improved from a fall of -6.8% in December to -3.9% in January, re-confirming the trend by airlines to protect their positions at Europe`s leading hub. Gatwick`s figures remained stable at -16.4%. By the end of February, new routes by easyJet will come on line, giving them a total of 22 daily departures from Gatwick, making it the airport`s second largest scheduled airline.

Air transport movements fell -4.4% in January. Cargo tonnage was also down by -7.8%, showing a reduction in the rate of decline seen over the last few months.