CAA data shows 2012 air passenger numbers at UK airports up very slightly on 2011 and still 8% below 2007 peak

The CAA has released data for all the UK’s airports for 2012. There were 0.6% more air passengers in 2012 than in 2011, but  the 2012 figure was still about 8% lower than the peak in 2007. The number of UK air passengers was up by 1.3 million for the London airports, but only up by 0.1 million for the regional airports. UK airports handled  almost 221 million passengers during 2012. Heathrow had slightly more passengers, due to use of larger planes.  Gatwick grew faster  than Heathrow (passengers up by 1.7% and 0.9% respectively) while Stansted had a fall of  -3.2%.  Provisional data from the CAA’s 2012 Passenger Survey (covering 5 main airports) shows that business passenger numbers fell by 4%, holiday passengers grew by 4% and passengers travelling to visit friends and relatives (VFR) were flat compared to 2011. Most UK air passengers go to Europe – 59.7%. About 9.2% go to North America; about 9% are on domestic flights, and about 13.9% are to long haul destinations other than North America. During 2012, air transport movements at UK airports declined by -1.3% on 2011 and down 15% on the 2007 peak of 2.5 million.  Table showing figures below.

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Passenger numbers at UK airports up 1.4 million, but still below 2007 peak

18 March 2013  (CAA)

• UK airports handled 1.4 million (0.6%) more passengers in 2012 than 2011
• London airports grew by 1.3 million and regional airports by 0.1 million 
• Overall passenger numbers are still 8% below the peak reached in 2007
UK airports handled 221 million passengers during 2012 according to figures published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), an increase of 0.6% (1.4 million) on 2011.
This growth continues the recovery started in 2011 following three consecutive years of falling passenger numbers at UK airports. However, passenger numbers for 2012 were still 8% below 2007’s peak of almost 240 million passengers and business passengers using the UK’s airports fell by 4%.
Iain Osborne, Director of Regulatory Policy at the CAA, said:”Whilst our statistics show aviation performance in the UK continues to recover, the overall picture means passenger numbers in the UK are still some way short of their 2007 peak.“There are still significant challenges ahead for the aviation industry. The economic climate, capacity and the environment are all issues that the industry must overcome to ensure it continues to offer passengers choice, value and high service standards.”
Passenger numbers at London airports rose proportionately more than those at regional airports:
At the London airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, London City and Southend – the increase was 1% to 135 million passengers. Heathrow handled its highest ever annual total of 70 million passengers, 0.9% more than in 2011. Passenger numbers grew by 1.7% at Gatwick, 1.1% at Luton and 0.8% at London City, but Stansted saw a fall in passenger numbers (-3.2%) to 17.5 million. Southend grew substantially from 42 thousand passengers to 617 thousand passengers in the year.
• At airports outside London traffic rose by 0.1% to 85.7 million passengers. Manchester saw the largest rise in terms of passenger numbers, with an increase of 847 thousand (4.5%) up to 19.7 million. Conversely, Liverpool registered the biggest absolute loss in passengers of 788 thousand (15%) to 4.5 million.
Passenger types
Provisional data from the CAA’s 2012 Passenger Survey (covering Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Manchester, Birmingham and East Midlands), shows that business passenger numbers fell by 4%, holiday passengers grew by 4% and passengers travelling to visit friends and relatives (VFR) were flat compared to 2011. In 2012 inbound passenger segments – those passengers not resident in the UK – performed better than outbound ones: outbound business passengers fell by 8.1% whereas inbound business fell by 0.4%; inbound holiday grew by 7.9% versus 2.3% on outbound holiday; outbound VFR fell by 3.9% whereas inbound VFR grew by 4.4%.
Destinations
The majority of UK airport passengers (132 million out of 221 million) [59.7% to Europe] were bound for, or arriving from, Europe – representing an increase of 1% from 2011.
Within this, the largest increase was in the number of passengers travelling to and from Italy (up by 0.6 million, an increase of 6%), while the largest fall in passengers travelling to and from an individual European country was Ireland, where numbers fell by 2% (0.2 million).
Whilst there was a 1.9% (0.4 million) increase in passengers going to and from North America (up to 20.4 million in 2012), [ 9.2% to North America] passengers travelling to and from international destinations outside Europe and North America totalled 30.7 million [13.9%] in 2012, a fall of 0.4% on 2011.
Within this however, passengers travelling to mainland China increased by 83 thousand – a rise of 13% up to a total of 746 thousand passengers for 2012.In 2012, 20 million [9% domestic] passengers took UK domestic flights, representing a fall of 0.7% on 2011.
Airlines
A continuing trend from previous years is the decline in passenger numbers on charter flights, a drop of 7.9% (1.7 million) to 20.4 million in 2012 compared with 2011.
This contrasts with the increase of 1.5% in passengers onboard scheduled flights.  57% (114 million) of scheduled passengers at UK airports travelled on UK airlines, 27% (55 million) travelled on other EU airlines, and 31 million on non-EU airlines.
Between 2011 and 2012, scheduled passengers carried by UK airlines to and from the UK grew by 2.9% (3.3 million), whereas other EU airlines carried 1.0% (0.5 million) fewer scheduled passengers.
Non-EU airlines’ scheduled passengers increased by 1.3% (0.4 million).
Flights and Cargo
During 2012, air transport movements (landings and take-offs of commercial aircraft) at UK airports totalled 2.1 million, a decrease of 1.3% on 2011 and down 15% on the 2007 peak of 2.5 million.
The total tonnage of freight and mail carried from UK airports in 2012 was 2.5 million tonnes, an increase of 0.4% on 2011.
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For more information contact the CAA press office on: 020 7453 6030.
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You can follow the CAA on Twitter at @UK_CAA
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Notes to Editors
1. All the statistics above refer to UK airports and do not include the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, although these airports are still considered to be domestic destinations. Data on these airports is available, alongside a comprehensive range of aviation data, fromwww.caa.co.uk/statistics. Airport Statistics data is available from www.caa.couk/airportstatistics..
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2. Alternatively, copies of the data tables may be purchased on CDROM priced £25.00 + VAT, by contacting: CAA Aviation Intelligence, CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE, telephone 020 7453 6245.
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3. The CAA also produces Aviation Trends (www.caa.co.uk/aviationtrends), which provides a quarterly update of key figures summarising the level of activity at the UK’s airports. Each edition also includes a section entitled ‘Did you know?’ which aims to present interesting facts derived from the various data sources available to the CAA.
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4. The CAA is the UK’s specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.
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2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 % change 2012 cf. 2011 
Total for all UK reporting airports (terminal passengers, millions) 239,970 235,361 218,126 210,656 219,289 220,644 1
Airport by airport, terminal passengers
HEATHROW    67,852,387   66,906,954    65,906,641   65,745,250            69,390,591    69,983,139         0.85
GATWICK    35,165,404   34,162,014    32,360,773   31,342,263   33,643,989   34,218,668 1.71
MANCHESTER    21,891,723   21,062,749    18,630,394   17,662,699   18,806,655   19,654,100 4.51
STANSTED    23,759,250   22,340,375    19,949,689   18,561,598   18,047,403   17,464,792 -3.23
LUTON     9,919,361   10,173,902      9,115,327    8,733,837    9,509,915    9,614,175 1.10
EDINBURGH     9,037,200     8,992,178      9,043,452    8,594,449    9,383,695    9,194,334 -2.02
BIRMINGHAM     9,134,055     9,576,700      9,093,201    8,563,505    8,608,192    8,916,209 3.58
GLASGOW     8,726,013     8,135,260      7,213,397    6,521,765    6,858,268    7,150,095 4.26
BRISTOL     5,883,856     6,228,656      5,615,200    5,723,182    5,767,628    5,916,258 2.58
LIVERPOOL      5,463,234     5,329,826      4,879,468    5,007,944    5,246,540    4,458,500 -15.02
NEWCASTLE     5,623,607     5,016,640      4,568,619    4,345,952    4,336,304    4,354,648 0.42
BELFAST INTERNAT     5,236,055     5,222,839      4,536,498    4,010,972    4,101,914    4,312,441 5.13
EAST MIDLANDS      5,406,504     5,616,278      4,652,691    4,110,529    4,208,402    4,067,915 -3.34
ABERDEEN     3,411,140     3,290,236      2,983,793    2,763,491    3,082,575    3,328,533 7.98
LONDON CITY     2,912,123     3,260,225      2,796,890    2,780,582    2,992,847    3,016,664 0.80
LEEDS BRADFORD     2,859,858     2,860,447      2,552,597    2,723,833    2,936,988    2,968,700 1.08
BELFAST CITY      2,186,867     2,570,741      2,621,733    2,740,305    2,397,270    2,246,202 -6.30
SOUTHAMPTON     1,965,422     1,945,767      1,789,443    1,733,553    1,761,961    1,693,350 -3.89
JERSEY     1,546,019     1,591,032      1,460,972    1,428,798    1,460,911    1,441,671 -1.32
PRESTWICK     2,420,709     2,414,019      1,817,286    1,659,946    1,295,512    1,066,917 -17.65
CARDIFF WALES     2,093,507     1,978,719      1,624,730    1,397,864    1,208,268    1,013,386 -16.13
GUERNSEY        886,751       914,742         902,040       885,945       899,857      862,330 -4.17
ISLE OF MAN        753,359       754,387         707,506       674,483       700,547      695,610 -0.70
EXETER     1,012,493       951,265         789,733       736,680       709,314      694,963 -2.02
DONCASTER SH’LD     1,074,373       967,801         834,636       875,605       821,615      693,129 -15.64
BOURNEMOUTH     1,083,379     1,078,941         868,445       749,790       612,547      689,755 12.60
SOUTHEND          49,311         44,075            3,948           3,583         42,439      616,974 1353.79
INVERNESS        697,480       670,752         583,374       528,447       579,123      601,550 3.87
CITY OF DERRY        427,586       438,996         345,857       338,505       405,568      398,209 -1.81
NORWICH        699,359       582,973         429,542       425,662       413,837      396,646 -4.15
SCATSTA        252,894       243,041         269,754       279,442       288,225      304,426 5.62
BLACKPOOL        557,636       439,199         276,860       235,340       235,682      235,191 -0.21
HUMBERSIDE        465,872       424,402         335,149       282,583       273,096      233,589 -14.47
NEWQUAY        352,548       430,893         347,036       285,271       209,574      166,272 -20.66
DURHAM TEES VALLEY        734,849       646,741         288,296       224,673       190,284      164,826 -13.38
SUMBURGH        146,960       154,011         139,146       139,171       142,615      148,861 4.38
KIRKWALL        131,903       137,616         138,383       129,022       133,930      132,235 -1.27
STORNOWAY        126,203       130,888         122,475       112,226       122,439      115,860 -5.37
ISLES OF SCILLY (St Mary)        130,778       122,863         118,695       113,365       112,218        97,012 -13.55
ALDERNEY          79,087         77,104          74,835         70,012         69,546        64,165 -7.74
PENZANCE HELIPORT        115,998         98,360          85,911         89,469         75,206        61,747 -17.90
DUNDEE          65,419         60,929          72,466         70,360         61,648        54,642 -11.36
LANDS END           28,278         26,341          34,442         29,509         33,098        31,964 -3.43
BENBECULA          34,992         33,595          32,692         30,023         34,240        30,849 -9.90
WICK JOHN O GROATS          20,784         23,430          21,460         22,299         24,262        24,920 2.71
ISLES OF SCILLY (Tresco)          40,730         37,009          32,043         32,113         40,628        24,175 -40.50
ISLAY          28,406         29,136          26,285         24,946         25,784        21,230 -17.66
GLOUCESTERSHIRE            5,324         19,830          20,220         16,238         14,737        15,245 3.45
BARRA          10,415         10,705          10,182         10,192         10,482        11,414 8.89
CAMPBELTOWN            8,901           9,090            9,389           8,682          9,201          8,689 -5.56
MANSTON           15,556         11,625            5,335         25,692         37,169          8,262 -77.77
TIREE            7,807           8,419            8,202           7,859          8,310          7,317 -11.95
OXFORD             1,297           2,186          1,491          6,577 341.11
LERWICK             5,059           4,854            4,709           4,609          5,181          5,041 -2.70
CAMBRIDGE            2,151           1,854            1,307             916             597          2,130 256.78
SHOREHAM            8,026           5,041            1,213             866             634             480 -24.29
LYDD            2,696           1,673               588             485             496             445 -10.28
COVENTRY        598,916       331,022               167               –               –
BIGGIN HILL
CARLISLE
HAWARDEN
PLYMOUTH          78,156         98,918         115,254         96,498         28,834
SWANSEA
BARROW-IN-FURNESS
SHEFFIELD CITY