June 2011 traffic figures – BAA’s airports

Posted: 11 July 2011 | BAA | No comments yet

BAA’s six airports handled a total of 9.9 million passengers during June, up 4.4%. Heathrow saw its busiest June on record…

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BAA’s six airports handled a total of 9.9 million passengers during June, up 4.4%. Heathrow saw its busiest June on record, with 6.1 million passengers travelling through the airport last month, 6.3% above the previous year. June 2010 saw some impact from industrial action at British Airways. Removing the effects of this, Heathrow achieved underlying growth of around 3.8%.

April and May were also record months and in the first half of 2011, Heathrow handled 32.9 million passengers; an increase of 9.1% on the previous year.

All three Scottish airports saw an increase in passengers. The fastest growth was recorded at Aberdeen (up 10.1%) with Edinburgh up by 7.6% and Glasgow 2.6%. June was also a record month for Edinburgh, which has now seen four consecutive months of record traffic. Stansted’s traffic was down by 3.3% on last year and there was little change at Southampton (down 0.8%).

Rising load factors, the proportion of seats filled per plane, are a key driver behind the increase in traffic. For example, Heathrow saw a record average June load factor of 79.3% while Stansted saw an increase in the load factor from 81.4% to 84.0%.

In contrast to the rise in passenger numbers, growth in the global air freight market continued to slow as the strong post-recession recovery phase comes to an end. In June, cargo traffic at BAA’s airports was down 1.5% on last year and up by 20% on June 2009.

Business commentary and outlook

Strength in North Atlantic traffic has been a key driver of Heathrow’s recent performance with an increase in flights to US destinations, which include the world’s most popular intercontinental route of Heathrow-New York JFK. Brazil, with its vibrant economy providing significant growth opportunities for UK businesses, was the strongest performing individual market, seeing a 65.4% growth in passengers over June 2010.

An increasing proportion of passengers on these long-haul flights at Heathrow are transferring from other services. For May, the last month for which data is available, 36.4% of passengers changed planes at the airport. Without transfer passengers to balance the peaks and troughs of local demand load factors could not be maintained and airlines would find it hard to continue to fly to all but the most popular destinations. This has helped Heathrow to remain robust through the downturn in aviation, providing the UK’s economy with a precious advantage in global connectivity, supporting British jobs and exports.

Meanwhile, with fuller planes and busier days, everyone at Heathrow is working hard to ensure good service with passengers consistently clearing security in less than 5 minutes well over 95% of the time.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said:

“Heathrow’s position as the UK’s only hub airport enables it to benefit from growth in long-haul routes and emerging economies. June’s passenger figures are an early indication of a busy summer, and we will focus on delivering the best possible service standards at our most popular time of year.”

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