Passenger numbers plummet at airports, BA gear up for strikes
For all their crowing, the budget airlines have had an easier time of the recession than others. But despite the likes of easyJet and Ryanair increasing passenger numbers in the past twelve months, UK airports have suffered the biggest decline in passenger numbers since records began in the 1940s, dropping over seven percent in 2009.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority, London City handled 14 per cent fewer passengers, and both Stansted and Luton saw a drop of over 10 per cent. Heathrow's passengers numbers decreased by 1.5 per cent, Gatwick by just over five per cent, while Manchester's passenger numbers nosedived by nearly 12 per cent compared to numbers in 2008. The only silver lining is that the bulk of the loss was in the first half of last year.
Meanwhile, British Airways is this afternoon expected to roll details for operations during the upcoming strikes by cabin crew. The airline is expecting to operate roughly 70 per cent of all scheduled flights, with most cancellations likely to be domestic and short haul, as BA attempts to protect its precious long haul custom. It's expected that at least 23 aircraft will operate with replacement crews made up of other BA staff. Rumours that Gordon Brown will be passing through the cabin with a selection of snacks and beverages are entirely fictitious, although the Prime Minister seems keen to dirty his hands in the business of the loss-making airline.