Figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority clearly show that whilst the UK is officially over the recession UK airports are not with passenger traffic down 7.4 million or 3.4% and this is the third year in a row that negative figures have been announced.
The UK’s annual passenger traffic of 210 million is now below 2004 figures which ably demonstrate the scale of the deficit since 2007 and the affect of the recession. Up until 2007 unprecedented year on year growth had been recorded for the past 20 years.
Apart from the economy other factors adversely hit traffic during 2010 namely, the Ash cloud disruption in April, BA strikes in May and the snow in December plus sporadic strikes by air traffic controllers in Spain and Greece.
London airports came out better thanks mainly to Heathrow that more or less managed to stay even and would have shown an increase if not for the BA strikes and flight days lost to snow in the important run up to Christmas. Worst affected was Stansted -7%, Luton -4% and Gatwick -3%. Elsewhere in the country traffic was down by 5%.
The only good news was that towards the latter end of the year business traveller traffic picked up and hopefully this increased activity will spread to the wider economy.
The downside is the British public are still reticent about spending monies on holidays and with the recent spike in the oil price, increasing unemployment and government budget cuts 2011 will do well to break even.
One of the biggest casualties was Spain down a massive 6% to 1.7 million where the rise in their prices and the value of the pound to the euro is doing them no favours. Turkey ,however, saw an increase of 575,000 with visitors up 11% showing that Brits are looking for value.
For those holiday makers looking for value when travelling abroad don't forget to choose a comparison site when booking your airport parking at Heathrow
By David Cook