Passenger numbers in record slump at UK airports

| March 15, 2010 | 0 Comments

Figures published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have revealed a severe decline in passenger numbers across UK airports in 2009.

According to the CAA, the UK’s airports handled 7.4% fewer passengers in 2009 than in 2008 - marking the biggest drop since records began just after World War II.

It was also the first time levels have fallen two years in a row.

Meanwhile, the CAA said Heathrow saw the smallest decline among London airports, handling 66 million passengers in 2009 - just 1.5% less than the previous year.

Gatwick handled 32 million passengers - a fall of 5.3% on 2008.

The CAA attributed the fall to a decline in holiday airline traffic, with charter flights falling 17%.

Commenting on the figures, CAA economic regulation director, Harry Bush, said: “Today’s figures show the biggest fall in passenger numbers since the Second World War, highlighting the enormous impact the recession has had on the aviation industry.”

He added: “Passenger numbers are now back to the level they were six years ago and, although they will certainly rebound, the pace of recovery is uncertain and it could be a number of years before they reach their peak level again.”

In related news, last week the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the global airline industry is improving, with both passenger and freight numbers expected to grow this year.

The global economic downturn had a devastating impact on the airline industry, which led to a slump in demand as fewer people travelled by air.

Many airlines went bust during the downturn, not just due to a fall in demand but also as a result of higher fuel prices.

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