BAA August Traffic Dented By 'Olympics Effect'

September 11, 2012

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British airport operator BAA reported a 2 percent fall in August passenger traffic on last year as Britons stayed home to watch the Olympics and tourists deferred travel until after the Games.

BAA, owned by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, on Tuesday said 9.5 million passengers passed through its five UK airports last month, compared to about 9.7 million in August 2011.

London Heathrow - Europe's busiest airport - handled 6.5 million passengers, down 1.9 percent year-on-year.

"The reduction was more pronounced in the first two weeks of August - down 4.6 percent - than in the rest of the month - up 0.3 percent. This suggests a continuation of the 'Olympics effect' reported in July, with UK passengers staying at home as well as non-Olympic visitors from overseas choosing to defer their journeys," said BAA's chief executive Colin Matthews.

BAA, which has been criticised in the past for its handling of snow and volcanic ash related disruptions, said years of planning helped it cope well with the influx of passengers flying into London for the Games.

August passenger traffic at London Stansted airport fell 5.2 percent year-on-year and Southampton dropped 6.4 percent. Traffic at Scotland's Aberdeen rose 9.2 percent and Glasgow was up 3.1 percent.

The amount of cargo carried across the group's five airports was up 2.6 percent on the same month last year, BAA said.