May 2011 traffic figures – BAA’s airports

Posted: 13 June 2011 | BAA | No comments yet

BAA’s six airports handled 9.3 million passengers last month, the busiest ever May for Heathrow (5.9 million) and Edinburgh (826,000)…

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BAA’s six airports handled 9.3 million passengers last month, the busiest ever May for Heathrow (5.9 million) and Edinburgh (826,000). The two airports also saw their busiest ever Spring (March, April and May).

For the first time ever, the moving annual total number of passengers at Heathrow topped 68 million. Heathrow’s passenger numbers grew by 11.6% over May 2010 which was affected by volcanic ash and industrial action. Accounting for these impacts leaves Heathrow with an estimated underlying 5.2% increase for the month of May. For the year to date Heathrow’s traffic is up 9.8% with underlying growth of 2.7%.

Traffic at the group’s six airports increased by 9.2% over last May. The late Easter holidays and Royal Wedding led to more passengers at the beginning of the month whereas the Grímsvötn eruption in Iceland led only to a marginal decrease in traffic. Stripping out the negative effects of events in 2010, the group recorded underlying growth of 1.7% in the year to date.

Both Edinburgh and Aberdeen recorded double digit increases in the month (13.7% and 11.8% respectively) with underlying growth for the year to date of 6.9% and 7.0% respectively. Traffic at Glasgow increased 7.0% in May 2011 whilst the underlying growth for the year to date was 1.3%.

Stansted saw its second consecutive monthly rise (0.7%) for the first time since October 2007, although on a year to date basis the underlying decline is 4.0%, reflecting the transfer of capacity by low-cost airlines to continental Europe. Southampton’s traffic was down 1.1% in the month, and down 7.0% on an underlying year to date basis, largely as a result of a drop in European scheduled traffic.

Cargo tonnage was down by 5.6% at group level and by 5.9% at Heathrow. This reflects the fact that May 2010 was a particularly strong month for air cargo resulting from a backlog of freight not flown during the April volcanic ash shutdown.

Business commentary and outlook

Growth in passenger numbers at BAA’s airports demonstrates the continued recovery of the UK aviation sector. Passenger numbers at Heathrow over the last 12 months topped 68 million for the first time, an indication that exposure to the global economic recovery continues to support activity at the UK’s only hub airport.

Heathrow’s direct connections to the world are helping to stimulate business travel and inbound tourism. Crucial links only provided by Heathrow include those to Brazil (up 82.0% on May 2010), Russia (up 19.1%), India (up 5.4%) and China (up 9.5%). These important routes are economically sustained not just by direct traffic from London but by connecting passengers at Heathrow from across the UK and the world.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said: “Demand is particularly strong on the long-haul routes that connect UK businesses to fast-growing economies around the world.”


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