Heathrow hurt by summer lull in passengers

City A.M. Reporter
HEATHROW Ltd, formerly known as BAA, warned yesterday that full-year earnings would fall short of its target, after fewer passengers travelled through Europe’s busiest airport this summer.

“Traffic over the summer months was lower than expected, particularly in July and August when passenger traffic was down about 400,000 on the same period in 2011,” chief financial officer José Leo said yesterday, referring to London’s Heathrow airport.

In June, the group predicted it would report adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (Ebitda) of around £1.27bn for 2012.

Heathrow said its Ebitda rose 9.6 per cent to £922.9m in the nine months to the end of September on revenue 8.2 per cent higher at £1.84bn, helped by an increase in tariffs it charges airlines.

The company, owned by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, said Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, handled 53m passengers in the first nine months of 2012, up 0.6 per cent on last year.

But traffic at Stansted, which is predominantly a low-cost leisure and holiday airport and more exposed to domestic economic conditions, fell 4.6 per cent to 13.5m in the same period.

The operator said the sale of Stansted was now underway after the competition regulator forced it to sell the airport to loosen the group’s grip on the UK.