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BAA announce March travel figures

April 15, 2009

BAA has today announced that its UK airports handled a total of 10.6 million passengers throughout the month of March, representing a drop of some 11.3% against the same period in 2008.

Approximately 2-3% of the reduction is being attributed to the fact that, in 2008, the Easter travel peak centred around the third weekend of March, whereas this year the main peak will not have begun until April.

According to the results, published today, European scheduled traffic was down 11%, UK domestic down 8.6%, North Atlantic traffic down 17.6%, and other long hauls routes collectively suffering a 5.6% decrease in passengers.

Among individual airports, Heathrow remains the most resilient, with traffic only decreasing by 7.5% when not taking into consideration the effect of the Easter holidays. It is believed that the resilience shown by Heathrow can be attributed to the airport's greater share of stronger long-haul markets, and also due to the rising number of transfer passengers which underpins its role as the UK's hub airport.

It was perhaps unsurprising to see that those other individual airports with the largest elements of leisure traffic suffered significant reductions. For example, Gatwick experienced a reduction of 17.7%, Stansted was down 15.9% and Glasgow 13%.

To put the results in context, BAA acknowledged the announcement on April 8 of the Airports Council International (Europe): "As further evidence of the unprecedented impact of the economic crisis, the latest traffic report from ACI Europe - the voice of Europe's airports - reveals a decrease of 13.6% in the overall passenger traffic at European airports in February 2009 compared with February 2008."

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