BAA, the largest airport operator in Britain, has reported an 8.9% drop in the number of air passengers in November compared to same month last year. Gatwick and Stansted airports have seen the largest falls in passenger numbers.
The economic slowdown, industrial disputes at Air France and reduced winter schedules have been attributed to the fall.
BAA, which owns airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, has seen a decline from 10.8 million passengers in November 2007 to 9.8 million passengers this year.
At Heathrow, traffic fell by 4.8% from last year. But passenger numbers at Gatwick and Stansted fell 13.5% and 13.2% respectively because of airline service cut backs and the negative impact of the Open Skies deal brokered between the US and European Union which has opened up transatlantic air travel.
In Scotland, the BAA-owned Glasgow airport saw a fall of 15.6%, Aberdeen airport fell by 11.5% and Edinburgh fell 7.8% for the same period.
BAA says that the decline is because of the economic downturn and maintains an optimistic outlook for the future. “Long term prospects for growth remain good and the passenger volume will recover in due course,” it says in a statement.