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Passenger numbers at main UK airports slump

Passengers numbers passing through Britain’s major airports fell last year, according to figures released by BAA today.

The seven UK airports run by the Spanish-owned airport operator, which include Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, handled 145.8 million passengers in 2008 - a drop of 2.8% compared with 2007.The number of passengers using Heathrow airport last year was down 1.4%, while Gatwick dipped 2.8% and Stansted fell 6%.
Passenger numbers at all four of BAA’s other UK airports also fell, with Glasgow the biggest (6.8% lower), followed by Aberdeen (-3.5%), Southampton (-0.8%), and Edinburgh (-0.5%).
The figures for December alone showed the most dramatic falls. The seven airports handled 10.18 million passengers - 6.9% down on the December 2007 total.
Gatwick fell the most in December (13.8%), Stansted was down 13.0%, Southampton fell 5.4%, Heathrow was down 2.3%, while Glasgow decreased 10.7%, Edinburgh was down 2,5% and Aberdeen declined 3.2%.
BAA said today: “We expect, on the evidence of historic economic downturns and the resulting effect on air traffic, that the long-term prospects for growth remain good and that passenger volumes will recover in due course.”
In the individual sectors, the biggest passenger fall last year was on European and North African charter routes which were down 7.4% compared to 2007.
In December alone, the biggest fall was also on European and North African charter flights where passenger numbers dropped 21.6%.