Signs that the effects of the recession on the aviation industry are receding were revealed recently by BAA, which announced that Heathrow Airport just experienced its busiest month since July 2006 and its third busiest month on record. This was good news for the troubled BAA, which currently has a net debt of £11.3 billion and has been suffering from falling passenger numbers across the country over recent months.
Heathrow saw nearly 6.5 million passengers use its services in July, a 0.9% increase on the same month in 2008. However, other BAA airports were not so successful, with Gatwick, Stansted and Glasgow posting drops of 4.8%, 5.7% and 12.9% respectively. Edinburgh bucked the trend with a massive 5.6% year-on-year increase, but apart from this it was all bad news.
Overall, the total passenger numbers at all BAA’s airports were down 2.4% year-on-year from 14.8 million to 14.5 million. Long-haul flights were actually up by 4.8% for all BAA airports, not including the North Atlantic routes, but domestic routes were down 4.8%.
However, Heathrow’s figures suggest that the airport is still a hugely significant asset for the company. Heathrow actually had fewer flights throughout July, but the increased passenger numbers meant that the airport saw its highest ever passengers-per-plane ratio of 162.
It looks like a last minute dash for the sun has been mainly responsible for the success of Heathrow Airport over the last month. Despite the recession and predictions that most people would be holidaying closer to home this year, some particularly bad weather has seen many people decide that they would like to holiday abroad after all.