Heathrow sets new traffic record with robust July

UK. London Heathrow Airport posted a record ever month for passenger traffic in July, handling 6.9 million passengers, up by +2.5% year-on year, BAA has reported.

The airport saw its busiest day on record on Sunday 31 July, and seven of Heathrow’s top ten days for passenger numbers came during the month. At 84.7%, the proportion of available aircraft seats filled was the most efficient ever achieved.

The total number of passengers at Heathrow during the last 12 months exceeded 68.5 million for the first time.

BAA’s six airports handled 11 million passengers in July, an increase of +0.8% on July 2010. Across the group, the strongest performing market was North America, with passenger numbers up +5.6% on last July. Other long-haul routes recorded a collective increase of +3.9% and European scheduled services rose by +0.9%. In contrast, there was a -7.2% drop in domestic traffic.

Click here to view the enlarged image (then hover over graphs with your cursor and click for full detail)

At Heathrow alone, the drop in domestic traffic was -13.3% as carriers reduced seat capacity by -16.0%. However, increases in North Atlantic (up +5.3%), other long-haul (up +3.2%) and European scheduled (up +3.1%) markets compensated for this reduction. The most notable individual country market was Brazil, which experienced an +80.0% year-on-year increase in passengers travelling to and from the country.

Stansted handled 1.9 million passengers, a drop of -7.2%. It achieved its most efficient ever load factor of 88.5%. In addition, Southampton returned to growth with a +2.4% increase versus July 2010.

All three Scottish airports recorded increases in July, with Edinburgh rising +3.3% to just short of one million passengers. Glasgow was up by +0.5% overall, due largely to a +45.7% increase in traffic on scheduled European services. Aberdeen saw growth in domestic traffic and even faster growth in international traffic, which helped it to reach an overall increase of +8.7%.

Across the group the number of air transport movements was down by -1.8%, with only Heathrow (up +0.4%) and Aberdeen (up +0.3%) recording increases. Cargo tonnage was also lower across the group (down -2.3%), reflecting global trends.

BAA Chief Executive Colin Matthews said: “The growth in passenger traffic at Heathrow in July is good news for UK jobs, tourism and growth. Heathrow’s unique role in linking the UK to the world’s emerging markets is vital to Britain’s economic recovery.

“Heathrow’s performance was also good news for the thousands of families setting off on their summer holiday. To make the busy summer getaway easier for parents we introduced dedicated family lanes at security, children’s play areas in all terminals, and ‘kids eat free’ deals in restaurants.”

Food & Beverage The Magazine eZine