BAA suffers a traffic slump in downturn

AIRPORT operator BAA said yesterday its passenger numbers for May had slumped for the 14th month in a row, as 11.8m passengers used its seven airports &ndash; down 7.3 per cent from a year ago.<br /><br />Stansted, one of three airports BAA is being forced to sell, was hit hardest, seeing its air traffic slump 18.5 per cent to 1,646.3 passengers for the month, as budget airline Ryanair slashed the number of routes it operates from the airport.<br /><br />BAA, which is owned by Spanish company Ferrovial, said the numbers were &ldquo;consistent with the underlying traffic trends recorded since December last year,&rdquo; and said it was yet more more evidence that demand conditions remained weak.<br /><br />Heathrow came out on top, as it carried just 3.9 per cent fewer passengers for the month than the year before. The figure shows &ldquo;the resilience and importance of Britain&rsquo;s international hub airport,&rdquo; BAA said, in a nod to its demands for a third runway. <br /><br />Passenger traffic at Gatwick airport, which is currently in the process of being sold, fell 6.5 per cent. But the decline was less than in previous months.<br /><br />In contrast, Edinburgh airport saw an increase in traffic as new low-cost airlines launched at the site &ndash; the second month in a row that the Scottish airport&rsquo;s traffic has gone up.<br /><br />The Competition Commission has said that BAA must sell Gatwick and Stansted airports, and either Edinburgh or Glasgow. BAA hasput Gatwick on the market, but wants to keep Stansted<br /><br /><strong>FAST FACTS </strong> BAA<br />&9679; BAA has been told by the Competition Commission it must sell both Gatwick and Stansted, and either Edinburgh or Glasgow.<br />&9679; This is the 14th consecutive month that air traffic has fallen at BAA&rsquo;s airports.<br /><br /><strong>LONDON&rsquo;S AIRPORT TRAFFIC </strong><br />BAA Heathrow<br /><strong>AIRPORT<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; MARCH&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; APRIL &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; MAY</strong><br />Passengers carried&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 5,193.60&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 5,612.60&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 5,424.80<br />Year-on-year % change&nbsp;&nbsp; -7.50%&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 2.60%&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; -3.90%<br /><br />BAA Gatwick<br /><strong>AIRPORT<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; MARCH&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; APRIL &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; MAY</strong><br />Passengers carried&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 2,318.70&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 2,577.70&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 2,846.50<br />Year-on-year % change&nbsp;&nbsp; -17.70%&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; -3.0%&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; -6.50%<br /><br />BAA Stansted<br /><strong>AIRPORT<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; MARCH&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; APRIL &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; MAY</strong><br />Passengers carried&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 1,534.10&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 1,628.90&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 1,646.30<br />Year-on-year % change&nbsp;&nbsp; -15.90%&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; -12.60%&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; -18.50%