July was Heathrow’s third busiest month

Author: By Graeme Evans, Press Association

The west London airport saw passenger numbers improve by 0.9 per cent on a
year earlier, while there were smaller declines at Gatwick and Stansted.

Across its seven UK airports, BAA handled 14.5 million passengers, a fall of
2.4 per cent on July 2008, compared with decreases of 5.9 per cent in June
and 7.3 per cent in May.

BAA reported a return to growth of 1.2 per cent in European scheduled traffic
and 4.8 per cent in long-haul traffic, excluding North Atlantic flights. UK
domestic traffic was 4.8 per cent lower and European charters fell 18.6 per
cent.

The operator said today’s traffic figures provided further evidence of
stabilisation in passenger demand.

Heathrow’s result of 6.5 million passengers in July took its total for the
year to date to 37.7 million, a fall of 3 per cent on a year earlier.

At Gatwick the reduction on last year was cut from 7.6 per cent in June to 4.8
per cent in July, largely thanks to a 5.8 per cent increase in European
schedule traffic.

Stansted’s improvement saw a drop of 11.5 per cent in June reduced to 5.7 per
cent in July, despite cuts in capacity by low-cost operators.

In Scotland, where the company has three airports, Edinburgh’s traffic grew by
5.6 per cent, the fourth consecutive month the airport has recorded growth.

At Glasgow, traffic was down by 12.9 per cent and at Aberdeen the airport
handled 9 per cent fewer passengers than a year earlier. The decline in
traffic at Southampton reduced from 7.9 per cent in June to 0.9 per cent in
July.

BAA also said Heathrow recorded its highest ever figure for the average number
of passengers per aircraft – at 162. This was after a 3 per cent reduction
in the number of flights and a 0.9 per cent increase in passenger numbers.

Today’s signs of a pick up in demand will offer encouragement to British
Airways, which last month reported its first ever April to June loss.

Chief executive Willie Walsh said at the time that trading conditions remained
“very challenging” but added there had been some stabilisation in the pace
of decline in the number of passengers flying.

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