UK air passenger traffic on path of recovery, says CAA

19 March 2013 (Last Updated March 19th, 2013 18:30)

UK airports have reported a 0.6% rise in passenger traffic during 2012 to 221 million, handling 1.4 million more passengers than in 2011, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Heathrow Airport

UK airports have reported a 0.6% rise in passenger traffic during 2012 to 221 million, handling 1.4 million more passengers than in 2011, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

CAA revealed that the total passenger traffic was still 8% less in comparison to the peak passenger traffic of 240 million in 2007.

The agency said that passenger traffic has been on a path of recovery since 2011 after experiencing three successive years of traffic decline.

During 2012, collective passenger traffic at London airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, London City and Southend rose 1% to 135 million passengers, while airports outside London, including Manchester and Liverpool, reported a 0.1% rise in passenger traffic to 85.7 million.

UK CAA Regulatory Policy director Iain Osborne said that statistics reveal that aviation performance in the UK continues to recover, though the passenger numbers are still some way short of 2007 peak.

"There are still significant challenges ahead for the aviation industry," Osborne said.

"CAA revealed that the total passenger traffic was still 8% less in comparison to the peak passenger traffic of 240 million in 2007."

"The economic climate, capacity and the environment are all issues that the industry must overcome to ensure it continues to offer passengers choice, value and high service standards."

The UK airport passengers departing for or arriving from Europe accounted for 132 million of the overall traffic, a rise of 1% from 2011, while Italian traffic rose 6% and Irish numbers declined 2% during the period.

North American passenger traffic increased 2% to 20.4 million, while passenger traffic to and from China increased 13% to 746,000 passengers during 2012.

In 2012, 57% of scheduled passengers used UK airlines, while 27% travelled on other EU airlines, with 31 million passengers opted for non-EU airlines.

Air transport movements at UK airports declined 1.3% to 2.1 million compared to 2011 and 15% drop over the 2007 peak of 2.5 million, while overall freight and mail tonnage rose 0.4% to 2.5 million tonnes compared to 2011.


Image: Among London airports, Heathrow Airport recorded the highest rise in passenger traffic of 0.9% to 70 million during 2012.