Stansted: Passenger numbers down as BAA confirms negative ‘Olympics effect’

HEATHROW and Stansted airport owner BAA continued to count the cost of the Olympics today as it reported a 2% fall in passenger numbers for August.

BAA, which during August abandoned its lengthy battle against a Competition Commission ruling that it must sell Stansted, said its five airports handled a total of 9.52million passengers during the month.

Heathrow’s numbers were 1.9% down on August 2011 at 6.46million, following 4.4% fall in July, while the total at Stansted was 5.2% down as 1.88million, similar to the 5.3% fall seen the previous month.

However, BAA said the August reduction at Heathrow was due to a fall of 4.6% during the first two weeks which had been partially offset by growth of 0.3% during the rest of the month.

“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,” BAA said.

“Overall, passenger traffic at Heathrow in July and August has been lower than originally expected and the shortfall is not expected to be recovered later in the year,” it added.

The further decline in numbers at Stansted during August means that the airport’s year-to-date total of 11.82m is now 4.7% down compared with the same stage last year while its rolling 12-month total of 17.46m is 4.8% down.

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However, cargo tonnage at Stansted grew by 13.9% in August, taking year-to-date growth to 3.2% and the rolling 12 month figure into positive territory at 0.8%.

Elsewhere within BAA, passenger numbers last month were up by 9.2% at Aberdeen and by 3.1% at Glasgow but were down 6.4% at Southampton.