Slump in UK Air Travel Bookmark and Share

There has been a continued decline in the number of airline passengers travelling from the UK. Britain’s 33 busiest airports are all reporting lower passenger figures for the first 8 months of this year.

Many of the most popular destinations from the UK are the worst affected with a fall of 1 in 10 passengers to the United States and a drop of 1 in 6 passengers travelling from London to New York. Some airports are more acutely affected by the downturn in business than others with Gatwick reporting a drop in passenger figures of around 2 million and Prestwick airport reporting as much as a 25% reduction in business.

There has been a fall of aroung 15% in business travellers during the first quarter of 2009 according to the Guild of Travel Management Companies. This is the fourth consecutive quarter in which surveys have shown a consistent decline in passengers.

The fall in demand for air transport is thought to be partly due to the recession and partly due to the decline in the value of the pound.Many British holidaymakers have opted to stay at home this year instead of flying to traditional vacation destinations in Spain or America.

Some airlines are cutting back on services as a result of the decline in demand. Budget airline BMIBaby has announced that it will shrink in size by as much as one third during 2010 with cuts in routes from Cardiff, Birmigham and Manchester. And last week British Airways announced that they had suffered unprecedented summer losses and these will result in a reduction in the number of flight attendants on each flight from Heathrow from November 16th.

It has been reported that we are through the worst of the recession and that there is now evidence of the green shoots of recovery. Unfortunately for the air transport industry it looks like there is some way to go before passenger figures return to the pre-recession highs.

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