Heathrow’s bumper July gives BAA hope of recovery

11.8.2009   (Telegraph)

Heathrow airport had its third busiest month on record in July in the latest
sign that the worst of the UK aviation downturn may be over

By Alistair Osborne

Britain’s premier airport handled 6.48m passengers, up 0.9% year-on-year – though
total traffic for the latest 12 months is down 3% at 65.7m passengers.

Heathrow was one of the two airports out of BAA’s seven-strong UK portfolio to
register growth in July, the other being Edinburgh, up 5.6% year-on-year to 955,800

While BAA’s total passenger numbers fell for the 16th consecutive month, down 2.4% to 14.5m, the airports operator said it had seen "further signs of
stabilising passenger figures".

Across the group, there was a return to growth of 1.2% in European scheduled
traffic and 4.8% in long-haul traffic, excluding the North Atlantic.   Transatlantic
traffic fell 8%.

A BAA spokesman said a little of Heathrow’s growth reflected a smoother working
Terminal 5, though most of it was down to an improved performance from British
Airways, whose traffic rose by 1% last month.

At Gatwick, which BAA has been trying to sell, the reduction on last year was
cut from 7.6% in June to 4.8% in July, while month-on-month Stansted improved
from a drop of 11.5% to one of 5.7%.



see also


see also


Heathrow sees record passenger numbers as families ditch the ‘staycation’ and
go in search of the sun

by   Ray Massey         Daily Mail       11.8.2009

July was Heathrow’s third busiest month on record as Britons headed abroad to
escape the dismal weather.

It handled 6.48million passengers – up by 0.9 per cent on a year earlier. Experts
said the surge was in part down to families giving up on hopes of a holiday here
and booking a last-minute break abroad.

The British Airports Authority said British Airways had also helped drive the
near record performance by boosting its passenger numbers at Heathrow – up by
1 per cent on July last year.


Last-minute surge: Heathrow had its third-busiest month on record in July

Last-minute surge: Heathrow had its third-busiest month on record in July

A BAA spokesman said:     ‘We were expecting July to be busy because it marks the
start of the school holidays. But the weather may have been a factor in boosting
numbers to its near record level.’  

The Association of British Travel Agents said members saw bookings rise by up
to 40 per cent up on last year.

Paul Riches, of accommodation-only provider Youtravel.com, said:     ‘The notion
of a holiday in the UK might have been a good idea a few months ago, but the reality
is different.

‘We’re seeing people booking a week before they go away – this is unheard of in August. It
just shows how desperate people are to get away.’

Despite Heathrow’s mini-boom in July, total passenger numbers for the year to
date are down 3 per cent to 37.7million. This July is third behind the record
6.53million passengers in July 2006, and 6.50million in July 2004.

Across its seven UK airports, BAA handled 4.5million passengers, a fall of 2.4
per cent on July 2008, compared with decreases of 5.9 per cent in June and 7.3
per cent in May.

The signs of a July pick-up in demand gave encouragement to British Airways,
which last month reported its first April to June loss.

BA also pointed to the ‘Terminal 5 effect’ for the boom. After its disastrous
opening in Spring 2007, T5 has now settled down and is proving its worth to passengers
and the airline, says BA.

In July, T5 alone handled 2.4million passengers – up from 1.8million last July.  
A BA spokesman said: ‘Terminal 5 is working really well and more than 30 million
customers have used it so far.     It is by the far the best airport experience
in the UK. It has helped us to deliver Heathrow’s best punctuality and baggage
performance for many years.’

Across its seven UK airports, BAA handled 14.5 million passengers, a fall of
2.4 per cent on July 2008, compared with decreases of 5.9 per cent in June and
7.3 per cent in May.

BAA reported a return to growth of 1.2 per cent in European scheduled traffic
and 4.8 per cent in long-haul traffic, excluding North Atlantic flights. But UK
domestic traffic was 4.8 per cent lower and European charters fell 18.6 per cent.

Heathrow owner BAA has been ordered by the Competition Commission to sell three
airports – Gatwick, Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow .  It also owns Aberdeen
and Southampton airports.

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