Euro zone crisis dents BAA airport traffic – so Colin Matthews uses that as a reason to push for more flights to China etc
Compared to May 2011, there were 0.1% fewer passengers this May at BAA’s airports. Passengers at Heathrow were down – 0.6%. However, May 2011 had the Royal Wedding etc, which makes comparison less valid. And May 2010 was distorted by the volcanic ash issue. But it seems that passenger numbers between Heathrow and Greece dropped 11.3 % in May compared withMay 2011, with numbers to and from Italy falling 9.2%, Portugal 11.4 % and Spain 2.5%. This has, of course, been an opportunity for BAA’s Colin Matthews to say this decline “demonstrated why it was vital for Britain to build air links to long-haul destinations whose economies were growing”. And “This is why the UK needs to urgently build better links to the countries whose economies are growing such as China, India and Brazil.” So BAA’s airports can be kept full and its profits can be kept up – nothing to do with what is actually needed by the UK as a whole ….
Euro zone crisis dents BAA airport traffic
The owner of London Heathrow – Europe’s busiest airport – on Tuesday said passenger numbers between Heathrow and Greece dropped 11.3 % in May compared with the same month a year ago, with numbers to and from Italy falling 9.2%, Portugal 11.4 % and Spain 2.5%.
“The impact of the euro zone crisis is still being felt with sharp falls in passenger numbers to the worst affected countries and reduced cargo traffic,” said BAA’s chief executive Colin Matthews.
BAA, owned by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial said cargo traffic – a key indicator of economic health – fell 2.4% across its airports last month. Cargo traffic at Heathrow was down 3.8 %.
“Both (cargo) figures are likely to be a reflection of the continued economic problems, particularly in the euro zone,” added Mathews.
IAG, formed by the merger of British Airways and Iberia, last week said worsening economic conditions in Spain hit its performance last month, undermining strength in long-haul travel out of London.
Traffic at airports operated by BAA fell 0.1% in May, compared with the same month in 2011, reflecting last year’s late Easter and Royal Wedding which boosted traffic in May 2011. The late May bank holiday into June this year also reduced last month traffic figures, it said.
BAA said 5.8 million passengers passed through Heathrow last month, 0.6% down on last May.
BAA, prevented by the government from building a third runway at Heathrow because of environmental concerns, has seen traffic to emerging markets rise in recent years and believes it is now falling behind rival European airports in the battle for these lucrative routes because of constraints on growth.
The company, which also owns Southampton in the south of England, and Glasgow and Aberdeen airports in Scotland, said the euro zone crisis showed why Britain urgently needed to build better links to the countries whose economies are growing such as China, India and Brazil.
“With the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow, already full, France and Germany are forging ahead and we are being left behind,” said Matthews.
13 June 2012 ( TravelMole)
Holidaymakers shun countries worst hit by eurozone crisis
Travel to Greece, Portugal and Italy has fallen sharply and Britons are even avoiding perennial favourite Spain, according to latest figures released by airports operator BAA.
They show that there was an 11% drop in the number of people flying between Heathrow and Portugal and Greece last month and a 9% drop in the numbers flying between Heathrow and Italy. Travel between Heathrow and Spain was 2.5% down.
Overall, total traffic for all BAA’s UK airports was down just 0.1% compared with May 2011, a drop which was attributed to last year’s late Easter and the Royal Wedding which boosted travel in May 2011.
BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said the decline in travel between the UK and the cash-strapped eurozone countries demonstrated why it was vital for Britain to build air links to long-haul destinations whose economies were growing.
“The continued resilience of our airports in the face of economic turbulence is encouraging. But the impact of the eurozone crisis is still being felt with sharp falls in passenger numbers to the worst affected countries and reduced cargo traffic.
“This is why the UK needs to urgently build better links to the countries whose economies are growing such as China, India and Brazil. But with the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow, already full, France and Germany are forging ahead and we are being left behind.”
British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh, a harsh critic of the Coalition’s aviation policy, said this week they were “top of the list of governments who don’t get it”.
Speaking at the aviation industry’s annual conference in Beijing, Walsh, who wants to see Heathrow expanded and air passenger duty cut, said ministers were “doing everything they can to suppress and damage aviation”, according to the Daily Telegraph.
By Linsey McNeill
May 2012 traffic figures – BAA’s airports
12 June 2012 (BAA press release)
BAA airports show resilience in the face of economic uncertainty
More than 9.3 million people passed through BAA’s airports last month, a fall of just 0.1% compared with May 2011. Heathrow passenger numbers were down 0.6% with 5.8 million people passing through its terminals. Most of this fall was due to last year’s late Easter and Royal Wedding which boosted traffic in May 2011, whilst the move of the late May bank holiday into June this year reduced May 2012’s traffic figures.
Passenger numbers at Glasgow rose almost 10%, whilst Aberdeen saw passenger numbers rise nearly 16% and Edinburgh handled 2.2% more passengers compared with last year. The Scottish airports all saw their performance affected by cancellations in May last year due to the volcanic ash cloud. Even after stripping out this effect Glasgow still saw a 6.2% increase thanks to a 33% rise in European scheduled traffic and Aberdeen rose by 13%.
Stansted saw passengers numbers fall 5.5% with European scheduled and long haul traffic most affected. With a strong bias towards leisure traffic, the switch in the bank holiday and school half terms from their usual timing in late May to early June this year accounted for some of the fall. Passenger numbers at Southampton were 4.7% lower, due largely to an 8.3% drop in European scheduled traffic.
There was no pick up in cargo traffic, with 144,000 metric tonnes being moved, a drop of 2.4% for the group. Cargo traffic at Heathrow was down 3.8%. Both figures are likely to be a reflection of the continued economic problems, particularly in the Eurozone.
The impact of the Eurozone crisis can also be seen in passenger numbers to the worst affected countries. Passenger numbers between Heathrow and Greece dropped 11.3% compared with May last year, with numbers to and from Italy falling 9.2%, Portugal 11.4% and Spain 2.5%.
BAA Chief Executive, Colin Matthews, said:
“The continued resilience of our airports in the face of economic turbulence is encouraging. But the impact of the Eurozone crisis is still being felt with sharp falls in passenger numbers to the worst affected countries and reduced cargo traffic. This is why the UK needs to urgently build better links to the countries whose economies are growing such as China, India and Brazil. But with the UKâ€™s only hub airport, Heathrow, already full, France and Germany are forging ahead and we are being left behind.”
By comparison last year:
May 2011 traffic figures – BAA’s airports
13 June 2011 (BAA
BAA airports reports busy spring
- BAA airports handle 9.3 million passengers in the month.
- Heathrow and Edinburgh airports see their busiest March, April, and May.
- Heathrow has a record 68 million passengers in 12 months for first time.
BAA’s six airports handled 9.3 million passengers last month, the busiest ever May for Heathrow (5.9 million) and Edinburgh (826,000). The two airports also saw their busiest ever Spring (March, April and May).
For the first time ever, the moving annual total number of passengers at Heathrow topped 68 million. Heathrow’s passenger numbers grew by 11.6% over May 2010 which was affected by volcanic ash and industrial action. Accounting for these impacts leaves Heathrow with an estimated underlying 5.2% increase for the month of May. For the year to date Heathrow’s traffic is up 9.8% with underlying growth of 2.7%.
Traffic at the group’s six airports increased by 9.2% over last May. The late Easter holidays and Royal Wedding led to more passengers at the beginning of the month whereas the Grímsvötn eruption in Iceland led only to a marginal decrease in traffic. Stripping out the negative effects of events in 2010, the group recorded underlying growth of 1.7% in the year to date.
Both Edinburgh and Aberdeen recorded double digit increases in the month (13.7% and 11.8% respectively) with underlying growth for the year to date of 6.9% and 7.0% respectively. Traffic at Glasgow increased 7.0% in May 2011 whilst the underlying growth for the year to date was 1.3%.
Stansted saw its second consecutive monthly rise (0.7%) for the first time since October 2007, although on a year to date basis the underlying decline is 4.0%, reflecting the transfer of capacity by low-cost airlines to continental Europe. Southampton’s traffic was down 1.1% in the month, and down 7.0% on an underlying year to date basis, largely as a result of a drop in European scheduled traffic.
Cargo tonnage was down by 5.6% at group level and by 5.9% at Heathrow. This reflects the fact that May 2010 was a particularly strong month for air cargo resulting from a backlog of freight not flown during the April volcanic ash shutdown.
Business commentary and outlook
Growth in passenger numbers at BAA’s airports demonstrates the continued recovery of the UK aviation sector. Passenger numbers at Heathrow over the last 12 months topped 68 million for the first time, an indication that exposure to the global economic recovery continues to support activity at the UK’s only hub airport.
Heathrow’s direct connections to the world are helping to stimulate business travel and inbound tourism. Crucial links only provided by Heathrow include those to Brazil (up 82.0% on May 2010), Russia (up 19.1%), India (up 5.4%) and China (up 9.5%). These important routes are economically sustained not just by direct traffic from London but by connecting passengers at Heathrow from across the UK and the world.
Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said: “Demand is particularly strong on the long-haul routes that connect UK businesses to fast-growing economies around the world.”
Further information from: – Heathrow media relations, 020 8745 7224
Download BAA traffic statistics May 2011 (27KB PDF)