Proportion of business passengers fell between 2000 and 2010 at 5 main UK airports

UK government figures show that the proportion of business passengers, international and domestic, have fallen at the 5 largest UK airports over the past 10 years. In 2000 around 38% of Heathrow passengers were on business, around 35% in 2005, but in 2010 it was 30.2%.  At Gatwick 17.4% of passengers were on business in 2000, but only 14.6% in 2010. At Stansted it was 18.4% down to 16.4%.  At Manchester 19.4% down to 17.9%.  At Luton, 24.5% of passengers were on business in 2000, but 19.1%  in 2010.  Data from the CAA annual passenger surveys each year give the details.  While the proportion of business passengers fell, those visiting friends and family, or on holiday, increased. 


 UK Airport Statistics show proportion of business passengers in 2010 had fallen significantly since 2000 at 5 largest UK airports

On 16th December, the DfT released Transport Statistics for Great Britain 2011. The aviation section is filled with facts and figures of all sorts.  Details at   Page 3

Here are just a few of the key facts:

  At Heathrow in 2000 about 38% of total passengers were on business. This had fallen to about 30% in 2010. At Gatwick and Stansted they were also down. (So much for the vital importance of these airports in boosting business etc & helping the economy. Most passengers are on holidays or visits)

  The proportion of business passengers (cf. holiday or visiting friends and family) declined between 2000 and 2010 at all 5 largest UK airports

  Between 2000 and 2010 overall terminal passenger numbers increased by 32% at regional airports compared with 10% at the 5 London airports.

  In 2010, the 5 London airports accounted for 60% of all terminal passengers at UK airports, down from 65% in 2000

  Regional airports experienced a proportionally larger fall since the peak in 2007 at 17% compared with a 9% fall at the London airports.

  DfT UK aviation stats for 2010: 31% of passengers went through Heathrow, 15% at Gatwick, 9% Stansted, 8% Manchester, 4% each Luton, B’ham and Edinburgh.

  In 2009, around 74,000 people were employed by UK airlines worldwide. This is a fall of 20% since 2000 and a fall of 6% since 2008?    (typo in the DfT figures, so unclear).

  In 2010 Easyjet uplifted more passengers than BA (42m compared to 30m) but BA accounted for more than twice as many passenger kilometers (105 bn and 49 bn respectively) as Easyjet.

Data from 2009 and 2010 CAA Passenger Survey Reports

 (terminal passengers)

AirportInternational business passengers % 2010International business passengers   % 2009Domestic business passengers   %  2010Domestic business passengers   %  2009Total business passengers  % 2010Total business passengers  % 2009
Stansted13.213.13.2 [4.7% in 2001]3.316.416.4
Manchester12.211.15.7 [8.7% in 2001]6.117.917.2
Luton14.412.44.7 [12.5% in 2001]5.419.117.8
Edinburgh6[38% in 2001]23.729.7
Glasgow3.4[28% in 2001]4.57.9
Birmingham14.36.7 –21
London City48.115 –63.1

data taken from the two CAA surveys.

By comparison, the 2000 and 2005  figures:


Data from 2009 and 2005 CAA Passenger Survey Reports

 (terminal passengers)

AirportInternational business passengers % 2005International business passengers   % 2000Domestic business passengers %  2005Domestic business passengers %  2000Total business passengers % 2005 *Total business passengers % 2000

data taken from the two CAA surveys.

 2010 data

 The CAA 2010 Passenger Survey,

has data on business passengers on page 6.

This shows – for all the airports surveyed for 2010 (the choose different airports in different  years, keeping the core of the 5 largest each time) :

total for the chosen airports: 18.4% of passengers were on international business, and 4% were on domestic business.

Heathrow 27.3% international business, and 2.9% on domestic business.  Total  30.2%.

Gatwick 10.6% on international business, and 4% on domestic business.  Total 14.6%.

Stansted 13.2% international business, and 3.2% domestic business.  Total 16.4%.

Manchester 12.2% international business, and 5.7% domestic business.  Total 17.9%.

Luton 14.4% international business, and 4.7% domestic business. Total 19.1%.

Birmingham 14.3% international business, and 6.7% domestic business. Total 21%.

London City 48.1% international business, and 15% domestic business. Total 63.1%.

 …..and more data on some other airports…..

see also

2009 data – CAA 2009 air passenger survey

19.10.2010 Summary of the survey  at

Full 2009  Air Passenger Survey at

Proportion of business passengers at Heathrow falls again in 2009.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published results from the 2009 Air Passenger
Survey, which questioned over 200,000 departing air passengers about their travel
patterns at four London airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, and Luton), five Scottish airports (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Prestwick) as well as at Durham Tees Valley, Newcastle and Manchester airports.

Sample results from the 2009 survey – just those relating to business flights:

Of passengers not changing planes at Heathrow, for the second year running the
proportion travelling on business trips has dropped, this time from 37.2%
to 31.5%.  [These figures do not tally exactly with the figure given in the tables in the document, which give a figure of 29.2%].

Gatwick by contrast saw its proportion of such business passengers increase from 16.2% in 2008 to 18.2% in 2009.


See Page 9 of                  for the full data.

This shows the numbers and proportions of business passengers at many UK airports in 2009.

This shows 16.4% of terminal passengers at all the selected airports were on international business.  6.8% on domestic business.  Total 23.2%.

At Heathrow 26.2% were on international business, and 3% were on domestic business flights.   Total 29.2% .

At Gatwick 10.5% were on international business, and 4.5% on domestic business flights.  Total 15%.

At Stansted 13.1% of passengers were on international business, and 3.3% on domestic business flights.  Total 16.4%.

At Manchester, 11.1% of passengers were on international business, and 6.1% were on domestic business flights.  Total 17.2%.

At Luton 12.4% were on international business, and 5.4% on domestic business flights. Total  17.8%.

At Edinburgh 6% were on international business, and 23.7% on domestic business flights. Total   29.7%.

At Glasgow, 3.4% were on international business, and 4.5% on domestic business flights. Total 7.9%.

Why has there been a reduction in overall business passengers?

WWF report entitled

 “Moving on.  Why flying less means more for business”  2011

Key findings

• 86% of companies are either reducing their carbon footprint from business travel or intend to do so.

• 47% have reduced the number of business flights they’ve taken in the last two years.

• 63% of companies that responded now have a policy in place to reduce business flights, or are intending to implement one.  This reduction in business flying is likely to be permanent.

• Of those companies which have cut their flying, 85% do not intend to return to ‘business as usual’ levels of flying. From this same group, the vast majority agreed that it’s possible for a company to fly less and remain both profitable and competitive.

 There’s been an increase in the use of different types of conferencing, with videoconferencing deemed as the best alternative to flying. As the technology improves and staff become more familiar with it, further uptake is expected. It’s clear that change is being driven from the top and that businesses have made board-level decisions to reduce their business flights. And that we’re seeing a new approach to business travel and meeting practices. Respondents reported that they expect to encourage more use of all conferencing technologies in the next two years.

This research has shown that there have been changes in the patterns of flying. Domestic and short-haul flights are easier to cut than longhaul flights, with audio and videoconferencing the best substitutes.

Improvements to the UK and European train network have contributed to a modal shift from the plane to the train, especially for domestic flights and only marginally less so for short-haul flights.

Eurostar and other high-speed rail companies continue to shorten journey times, and provide staff with a mobile office – with laptops and smart phones enabling staff to remain productive while travelling on the train.

Main reasons for reducing travel

The findings and case studies in this report demonstrate these key benefits of cutting travel:

• Significant savings to travel budgets

• Reductions in companies’ carbon footprint

• Increased flexibility for staff, and improved work-life balance

• Ability of staff to continue working during disruption to train or air networks

• New culture of working and collaborating – questioning the need to travel

….. and there is a lot more detail in the WWF report at

The 2005 CAA air passenger survey at

states that:

Of the London airports, Heathrow continues to cater for the largest proportion of business traffic, accounting for 35% in 2005, which is slightly lower than the proportion observed during 2004, but in keeping with the proportion observed during 2003.  (Page 19)

The tables showing all the business and leisure passengers are on Page 74 and 75.

In 2005 Heathrow had 35.1% business passengers; Gatwick had 17.4% business; Stansted had 18.4% business; Manchester 19.4%; Luton 19.6%; Edinburgh 43.3% ; Glasgow 30.3%; and Newcastle 22%.

 The 2000 CAA air passenger survey at

 The tables showing all the business and leisure passengers are on Table 5 Page 21

In 2000, Heathrow had 38.2% business passengers; Gatwick had 19.6%; Stansted 22.8% business;  Manchester 21%; Luton 24.5%   and other airports are listed too.

Other years of CAA air passenger surveys at

See also

Easyjet profits from business travel – now 9 million business passengers per year

15 November 2011 (BBC)

A rise in the number of its business and European travellers helped Easyjet report
increased profits for 2011. Its pre-tax profit was £248m for the year to 30 September,
led by a 11.8% increase in passenger numbers, with 1 million more people using
the airline for business travel. Business passengers now account for over 9 million
annually  (out of a total of around 50 million) i.e 18%. EasyJet paid £100m more
in fuel costs during the year, but said it managed to offset this through efficiency