UK international traffic down 9.7% in 2009 H1; Turkey and Middle East defy overall trend

Image: Gulf Air Taxi
In June, 50 Gulf Air branded taxis were introduced in London. The Hackney Carriages, in full Gulf Air livery, will operate between London Heathrow and the city of London until 2011, promoting the airline’s service between Heathrow and Bahrain.

International air travel to and from the United Kingdom has been hit hard in the first half of 2009 by the current economic climate. Traffic is down almost 10% with many major markets suffering particularly badly. Examining what has identified as some of the UK’s most mature markets reveals that the only bright spot was April which benefited from Easter’s return to its traditional home.

Chart: Traffic growth on “mature” UK markets (M8) - Year-on-year growth January 2007 to June 2009
Source: UK CAA

The Japanese market has been a particular problem and has been the worst performer among this basket of routes since last October.

Half of the ‘emerging’ markets are still growing

Among the eight country markets classified by as ‘emerging’, four are still reporting growth in both May and June. India, Romania, Turkey and UAE markets are still experiencing increases in demand.

Chart: Traffic growth on “emerging” UK markets (E8) - Year-on-year growth January 2007 to June 2009
Source: UK CAA

The spectacular growth of the Polish market in 2007 and the first three-quarters of 2008 is now being followed by a significant drop, averaging almost 20% during the last eight months.

Spain and USA see biggest fall in absolute numbers

If total passenger numbers are compared for the first half of 2009 and 2008 it transpires that Spain and the USA have seen the biggest fall in passenger numbers in volume terms with both markets losing over one million passengers.

Chart: UK country market changes - Change in passenger numbers: 2009 H1 v 2008 H1
Source: UK CAA

In volume terms the fastest growing markets are Turkey, UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai) and Egypt. Just outside the top six are Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Gibraltar, Argentina, Lebanon and the Dominican Republic. In total around 40 country markets reported growth in the first six months of 2009 including Albania, Croatia, Finland, Jordan, Libya, Malaysia, Singapore and Ukraine.

Apart from Poland’s dramatic decline, the Czech Republic market is down 18.3% and Hungary is down 19.2%. Russian traffic is down 21.3%.


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