UK CAA statistics reveal that between 1987 and 1998 air travel demand between the UK and Florida trebled from just under one million passengers to just over three million. While traffic between the UK and Miami remained relatively unchanged the growth in long-haul leisure traffic to Orlando and Sanford (from 1996) boomed as UK families were increasingly able to afford holidays that enabled them to experience the delights of Walt Disney World and other attractions which appealed to both young and old kids alike.
However, since 1997 traffic has remained virtually unchanged hovering around the 2.8 million mark. Although traffic rebounded after the post ‘9/11′ dip demand has remained flat for the last five years.
|Source: UK CAA|
Scheduled traffic up, charter demand down this summer
Analysis of traffic data for this summer’s peak month of September reveals that scheduled demand from the UK to Florida is slightly up, while charter traffic which is concentrated at Orlando Sanford airport is down an alarming 35% with Manchester and London Gatwick traffic down around 40% and non-stop flights from Belfast International and Cardiff Wales no longer operating.
|Route||September 2008||September 2009||Change|
|Heathrow – Miami||59,392||62,810||+5.8%|
|UK – Orlando||87,512||83,736||-4.3%|
|UK – Sanford||83,063||53,744||-35.3%|
|Gatwick – Tampa||8,659||10,222||+18.1%|
|Source: UK CAA|
According to Orlando Sanford’s own traffic statistics for year-to-date international traffic, the vast majority of which is to the UK, demand is down 44% at 373,735 passengers, not helped by the UK Pound – US Dollar exchange rate which makes the US a more expensive destination than it was a year ago. In spring 2008 £1 would buy $2.00 but a year later this had fallen to less than $1.50 (Source: www.x-rates.com), resulting in US-based purchases (such as hotel rooms, food, entertainment, car rentals) now being over 30% more expensive.