BAA’s UK airports handled a total of 10.6 million passengers in March, a reduction of just over 11% against the same month last year. Some of the reduction can be attributed to the fact that in 2008 the Easter travel peak centred on the third weekend of March, whereas this year the main peak will not have begun until April, but it is estimated the underlying rate of decrease in March due to the difficult economic conditions was in the range of 8-9%.
European scheduled traffic was down by 11% and UK domestic by nearly 9%. North Atlantic traffic was almost 18% lower while other long haul routes recorded a collective drop of nearly 6%.
Among individual airports, Heathrow remains the most resilient, with traffic declining by only 8%, partly because of Heathrow’s greater share of stronger long-haul markets.
At other individual airports, not surprisingly it was those with the largest elements of leisure traffic that experienced the biggest traffic reductions – Gatwick was down by nearly 18%, Stansted by almost 16%, Glasgow by 13% and Southampton by just over 12%.