The airline industry has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. As if the recession hadn’t been enough, suddenly BA was suffering major industrial action, and then the entire UK airline industry came to a halt in spectacular fashion with the eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajoekull.
Now the extent of the damage caused by the BA strike and the volcanic ash shutdown has been revealed by BAA. The company owns six airports in the UK: Heathrow, Glasgow, Stansted, Edinburgh, Southampton and Aberdeen. It has just announced that in May 2010 the amount of customers to use its airports was just 8.6 million in total – a drop of 4.5% compared to May 2009.
BAA confirmed that, as a result of the volcanic ash and the BA strike, it lost a massive 445,000 passengers – not the best news when you are trying to recover from a recession.
In terms of individual airports, Heathrow saw 5.3 million passengers pass through during the month, a fall of 3.1%; Glasgow saw 560,000 passengers (down 13.7%); and Edinburgh saw 726,000 (down 11.6%).
The biggest overall fall came in domestic flights, with a drop of 16.5% recorded for the month. However, an increase of over 5% was reported for charter flights to Europe and North Africa, which was some good news at least.
Without the volcanic ash and the strike, BAA predicted that it would have seen a 2.8% increase in passenger numbers at Heathrow, and a 0.4% increase over the whole group.