Royal wedding holiday boosts BAA airport traffic
Passenger traffic at BAA’s airports increased by 9.2 per cent last month compared to May 2010, with the late Easter holidays and the royal wedding leading to more passengers at the beginning of the month.
BAA, majority owned by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, on Monday said 9.3m passengers flew from its UK airports in May, with the Grimsvotn volcano eruption in Iceland having only a marginal impact on traffic.
BAA said London’s Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, served 5.9m passengers during the month, its busiest ever May.
That was up 11.6 per cent on May 2010, which was affected by volcanic ash and industrial action.
BAA said growth in passenger numbers at its airports demonstrated the continued recovery of the UK aviation sector.
Passenger numbers at Heathrow over the last 12 months topped 68m for the first time, an indication that exposure to the global economic recovery continued to support activity at the UK’s only hub airport, BAA said.
“Demand is particularly strong on the long-haul routes that connect UK businesses to fast-growing economies around the world,” said BAA chief executive Colin Matthews.
Traffic to Brazil was up 82 per cent on the year before, with passengers to Russia rising 19.1 per cent, China growing by 9.5 per cent and India passenger numbers up 5.4 per cent.
The recovery in business travel and exposure to fast-growing emerging markets are becoming the driving factors in the airline industry but those without it have no buffer against higher fuel costs.