While Heathrow airport pulled out all the stops as the official Games airport, the “Olympics effect” saw its passenger numbers fall again in August.
In the first two weeks of the month numbers dropped almost 5% at BAA‘s five airports, but grew once the Games were over. A total of 9.5 million passengers passed through, 6.5 million at Heathrow, down overall by 2% on the previous August.
BAA said it suggested a continuation of the Olympics effect reported in July, with British passengers staying home and non-Olympic visitors deciding to defer their journeys. Before the Games, the airport had geared up for its busiest ever days but the anticipated traffic failed to materialise.
Despite the numbers, the BAA chief executive, Colin Matthews, said: “We are proud of Heathrow’s performance during London 2012, and warmly thank the volunteers, our own staff and the many other organisations who planned and delivered a warm and efficient welcome to Great Britain. We intend to combine the best of the Games experience with Heathrow’s on-going investment programme to steadily improve the airport for our passengers and airlines.”
BAA said it did not expect to make up the shortfall this year. Struggling Stansted saw another decline in passenger numbers, down 5.2% year on year. Gatwick, which only hosted a minority of Olympic arrivals, saw marginal growth of 0.3%, again with more Britons departing in the final weeks of the month.
Virgin Trains has also reported that Olympic revenues were far below the forecasts from Olympic authorities and the Department for Transport. Despite running extra services, particularly for football events, the company told a select committee hearing on Monday that revenue rose only £1m, rather than the forecast £15m.
Gatwick’s August results are at http://www.mediacentre.gatwickairport.com/
Gatwick;s July results are at http://www.mediacentre.gatwickairport.com/News/Passenger-numbers-stay-flat-at-Gatwick-in-July-787.aspx
August 2012 traffic figures – BAA’s airports
11 September 2012 (BAA)
9.5m passengers passed through BAA’s five airports in August 2012, down 2.0% on August 2011, including a drop of 1.9% at Heathrow to 6.5 million passengers. The reduction was more pronounced in the first two weeks of August (down 4.6%) than in the rest of the month (up 0.3%). This suggests a continuation of the ‘Olympics effect’ reported in July, with UK passengers staying at home as well as non-Olympic visitors from overseas choosing to defer their journeys.
Within the Heathrow figures, European scheduled traffic declined across the board, with only Denmark and Norway seeing an increase (1.2% and 4.0% respectively). North Atlantic traffic continued to perform well, up 3.0% on last August, whilst Brazil and China increased 9.5% and 4.1%. India was down 8.7%.
Overall, passenger traffic at Heathrow in July and August has been lower than originally expected and the shortfall is not expected to be recovered later in the year.
At Stansted passenger numbers were down 5.2% compared with August 2011, whilst traffic through Southampton declined 6.4%. Traffic through Aberdeen was up 9.2% and at Glasgow up 3.1%, resulting in a total increase at the Scottish airports of 4.9%.
There were encouraging signs in the cargo business compared with August last year, up 2.6% across the group, 13.9% at Stansted and 0.4% at Heathrow.
BAA Chief Executive, Colin Matthews, said:
“We are proud of Heathrow’s performance during London 2012, and warmly thank the volunteers, our own staff and the many other organisations who planned and delivered a warm and efficient welcome to Great Britain. We intend to combine the best of the Games experience with Heathrow’s on-going investment programme to steadily improve the airport for our passengers and airlines.”
July 2012 traffic figures – BAA’s airports
14 August 2012 (BAA)
9.6m passengers passed through BAA’s five airports in July 2012, down 4.1% on July 2011. This included a drop of 4.4% at Heathrow to 6.6m passengers.
The drop was more pronounced in the second half of the month and it is likely that the Olympics played a part, with UK passengers staying at home as well as non-Olympic visitors from overseas choosing to defer their journeys.
Those that chose to travel enjoyed a good experience at Heathrow, with a record breaking month for customer satisfaction. The airport’s monthly survey asks passengers to rate their experience on a scale of 1-5, where 5 is excellent and 4 very good. In July, arrivals scored a record 4.3. Departures scored 4.22, the second highest departures score ever and a record for July.
Within the Heathrow figures, domestic traffic saw an increase of 1.2% compared with last year, whilst European scheduled traffic, significantly affected by the Olympics, fell 6.6%. North Atlantic traffic remained almost unchanged (+0.1%), whilst other long haul routes had a collective decline of 6.3%. Within that passenger numbers to and from India dropped 11% but Brazil saw an increase of 15% and China 3.4%.
At Stansted passenger numbers were down 5.3% compared with July 2011, whilst Glasgow saw numbers fall 0.5% and Southampton 9.5%. Aberdeen though saw an increase in passenger numbers of 4.4% compared with July 2011, which meant a combined increase of 0.9% across the Scottish airports.
The amount of cargo carried across the group’s five airports was up 0.6% on the same month last year.
BAA Chief Executive, Colin Matthews, said: “We are proud to have played our part in giving the very best welcome to London 2012 to athletes and visitors alike. Seven years of hard work and planning, the warmth and enthusiasm of more than a thousand volunteers and additional Border Force staff produced our strongest ever passenger satisfaction scores.”