Belfast City, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Heathrow report traffic growth in April

Image: Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Tom Hartley and Brian Ambrose, Chief Executive of George Best Belfast City Airport
Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Tom Hartley and Brian Ambrose, Chief Executive of George Best Belfast City Airport, celebrate the launch of the airport’s April traffic figures, which were up almotst 3% year-on-year. “For many, George Best Belfast City Airport is their first experience of what Belfast has to offer. First impressions last and it is vital we have a product that sets the tone for the rest of their visit. To this end we will be embarking on a £6 million upgrade of facilities both inside and outside the terminal,” said Ambrose.

While UK airports have seen year-on-year traffic declining since the middle of last year, the re-timing of Easter into April this year has given a handful of airports some cheer. While overall traffic in the first quarter of 2009 was down over 12% (not helped by the extra day in February in 2008, some snow and ice which wreaked havoc at several airports in February, and the lack of Easter in the first quarter of this year), traffic in April was down only just over 3%.

Chart: London Airports
Source: UK CAA

Heathrow reported traffic growth in April of 2.6%, while London City (primarily handling business passengers) saw passenger numbers plummet by almost 20%. London Stansted reported double-digit traffic reduction for the sixth straight month and last reported growth in passenger numbers as long ago as October 2007.

Chart: Scotland & N Ireland Airports
Source: UK CAA

In Scotland and Northern Ireland only Belfast City and Edinburgh have reported growth at any time during the last six months. For the last three months Glasgow Prestwick’s traffic has been down around 20%. Ryanair’s decision to open a base in Edinburgh appears to be impacting demand from its other Scottish base.

Chart: Midlands & North UK Airports
Source: UK CAA

In the Midlands only Birmingham (in November, December and April) has reported growth in any month since October. Traffic at East Midlands and Leeds/Bradford airports was down over 25% in both February and March.

Chart: South & South-West UK Airports
Source: UK CAA

Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter and Southampton have all reported double-digit drops in traffic in each of the first four months of 2009. Bournemouth has performed slightly better.

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