BAA`s seven UK airports experienced their busiest ever month in August when
they handled 13.7 million passengers, an increase of 3.6% on August 2002.
All major markets recorded a continuation of the gradually improving trends
noted since the end of the Iraq War and the decline of the SARS outbreak. The
fastest growing market in August was European scheduled traffic, up 9.5%,
fuelled by further rapid growth among the low fare carriers, but there was also
a 3.0% increase in traffic for full service carriers operating in this market.
North Atlantic traffic edged closer to parity with last year, recording a drop
of only 1.1% in August, while other long haul routes collectively posted an
increase of 3.6%. Charter activity was 1.2% lower than last year, whilst
Domestic traffic was up by 1.5%.
Among the individual airports, all except Aberdeen recorded gains in August.
Heathrow recovered steadily throughout the month following the aftermath of the
British Airways` dispute in late July, achieving an increase of 1.4%. Gatwick
recorded an overall rise of 2.0%, helped by a 20.0% jump in European scheduled
traffic. Strong growth in European scheduled traffic also pushed Stansted
higher with a gain of 13.5%.
A second successive month of 79% increases at Southampton helped the airport
pass the one million annual passenger milestone during the month. In Scotland,
despite substantial increases in charter traffic, some retrenchment by low fare
carriers had the effect of curbing recent rapid growth. In August, Glasgow grew
by 1.0% on last year, Edinburgh increased by 4.7% and Aberdeen was 7.1% lower.
The total number of air transport movements at BAA airports was 0.7% up on last
year but the air cargo market continued to struggle, recording a 7.5% drop in
tonnage handled during August.