Passengers numbers nosedive at Coventry

10.4.2008     (Leamington Spa Courier)

Coventry Airport’s passenger numbers have almost halved in the past year, according
to new figures.

They fell by 46% in January compared with the same month last year, following
reductions of 42 per cent in December and 46% in November.
January was the quietest month since Thomsonfly’s passenger flights started at
the Baginton site in 2004, with 18,099 passengers using the terminal – down from
33,722 in January 2007.
The data is the most up-to-date available from the Civil Aviation Authority –
but Coventry Airport spokeswoman Sue Lindsay is unconcerned at the apparent nosedive.
She said: “It’s down to Thomsonfly cutting its flights to Amsterdam, Barcelona
and Paris from all its bases.
“It doesn’t do city break destinations any more, and that accounts for the fall
in numbers. But we started a service to Gdansk in March, which should be reflected
in passenger figures in the next few months.”
Coventry Airport enjoyed a moderately successful summer last year, with passenger
numbers up slightly on 2006.   But the steep falls in 2007’s last months left its
annual figures down by  2%,  showing it handled 598,916 people – and meaning it
is operating at only 61 per cent of its 980,000 capacity.
But the lack of passengers has not been all bad news for the site’s managers.
They were able to claim this week that their queues are shorter than any other
regional airport’s, following a survey by holiday firm Travel Counsellors.
The company reported an average wait of less than  2 minutes for security checks
and no queue at all for passport control. This compared with an average 40-minute
wait for security clearance at Birmingham.
Coventry Airport chief executive Chris Orphanou said: “While safety and security
are absolutely paramount at airports, we understand passengers’ frustrations at
having to queue before boarding their flight and even more so at being delayed
at immigration on their return to the UK.
“We are very pleased that passengers have no such complaints with Coventry Airport.”
The airport’s application for a 10,000 sq m terminal capable of handling two
million passengers a year was turned down by the government last year, but may
yet be approved following an appeal due to be heard in July.
Passengers numbers nosedive at Coventry