Airports and airlines face tough future
UK airports and airlines face an uncertain future thanks to longer queues at security, competition from rail travel, rising fuel prices and a slowdown in consumer spending.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published a report called Recent Trends in Growth of UK Air Passenger Demand which shows that passenger numbers are falling in several key market sectors.
In the two largest markets, passenger growth has been marginal or negative. Passenger numbers on international holiday flights from the UK grew by only 0.2% in the year to June 2007. Passenger numbers on domestic flights actually fell by 1.4% in the year to October 2007.
"Growth in domestic air travel, which accounts for one fifth of all trips, seems to have been mainly affected by competition from other transport modes, particularly due to improvements in long distance rail services and changes in airport security that have increased total journey times for air travel," states the CAA report.
But there has been healthy growth in the numbers taking flights in other market sectors. The number of people flying to visit friends and relatives now accounts for 15% of the total and has increased by around 12% in the last year. The numbers on business flights are also up, by up to around 10% in each of the last two years.
"The growth in UK resident passengers visiting friends and relatives abroad has been sustained mainly by nationals of other EU countries resident in the UK, with annual growth rates in the last couple of years exceeding 20%," says the CAA.
The CAA conducts an annual survey of passengers departing from UK airports including Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Stansted, Manchester, Belfast International, Birmingham, London City Airport, and East Midlands airport.
Written by: Nick Purdom
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