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Passengers down at Heathrow and Gatwick

Passenger numbers at Heathrow and Gatwick airports were down again in June, but Stansted airport experienced the greatest decline.

Heathrow, which airport operator BAA says accounts for 46% of the total traffic at its seven UK airports, saw passenger numbers fall by 0.9% compared to June last year to just under 6 million.

The downturn was greater at Gatwick airport, where traffic was down 1.1% to just over 3.3 million. But Stansted airport was hit even harder as passenger numbers fell by 5.7% to just under 2.1 million.

BAA’s airports outside London had mixed fortunes. Glasgow declined by 4.9%, but Edinburgh confirmed its position as Scotland’s most popular airport by seeing passenger numbers increase by 1.5% to 859,000. Aberdeen airport was down by 1.9%, but Southampton saw a 1.6% increase in passengers.

Whilst traffic was down at Heathrow, the airport did experience an increase in long haul flights, which BAA says are characterised by higher occupancy and profitability per passenger.

Gatwick airport showed a decline in North Atlantic traffic as flights switched to Heathrow with the advent of the Open Skies agreement. But European scheduled traffic was up by 10.8% and Irish traffic by 30.5% at Gatwick.

In a statement about its latest results, BAA said: “Given the combination of a weakening global economic climate and the impact of higher fuel costs on airfares, this result compares well with contemporary results coming from some major UK retailers”.

Written by: Nick Purdom