Ash and strikes cause BAA passenger traffic to fall 4.5pc

BRITISH AIRPORT AUTHORITY (BAA), owner of Heathrow and Stansted airports, reported floundering May passenger numbers yesterday as the industrial action launched by British Airways cabin crew and the Iceland volcano disruptions continued to take their toll.

The airports body, owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, said yesterday that 8.6m passengers traveled through its six airports, marking a 4.5 per cent drop on the same period last year.

Heathrow, Glasgow and Edinburgh were hit hardest by the volcano and strikes, each reporting a six per cent drop in passenger traffic as a result.

Heathrow lost 320,000 passengers, while Glasgow and Edinburgh lost 35,000 and 45,000 customers respectively.

BAA estimates that traffic through Heathrow would have increased by 2.8 per cent if it weren’t for the May disruptions and the group as a whole would have seen a marginal 0.4 per cent rise in passengers.

Including cargo traffic, BAA said air transport movements dropped by 4.8 per cent.

Cargo tonnage was up by 33.7 per cent across BAA’s airports, with Heathrow up by 36.1 per cent.