Royal Wedding boosts BAA airports

THE Royal wedding contributed to a surge in passengers at major UK airports last month, it was revealed today.

Airport operator BAA handled 9.34 million people at its six UK airports in May 2011 - a 9.2 per cent rise on the May 2010 figure which was affected by the first Icelandic ash cloud crisis and industrial action.

Heathrow had its best-ever May last month, handling more than 5.8 million passengers - 11.6 per cent more than in May 2010.

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Last month was also a record May for Edinburgh Airport, where passenger numbers rose 13.7 per cent to almost 826,000.

Stansted handled 0.7 per cent more passengers last month, but Southampton Airport numbers fell 1.1 per cent.

Aberdeen Airport numbers increased 11.8 per cent in May 2011, while Glasgow was up 7.0 per cent.

BAA said the late Easter and the royal wedding at the end of April had led to an increase in passengers at the beginning of May 2011 while the second Iceland ash cloud problem had had only a marginal effect.

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The company added that the “rolling year” figure, for the 12 months ending May 2011, showed that Heathrow passenger numbers had passed the 68 million mark for the first time.

BAA’s six airports handled almost 41.32 million passengers in the first five months of this year - a 8.6 per cent rise on the January-May 2010 figure.

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: “Demand is particularly strong on the long-haul routes that connect UK businesses to fast-growing economies around the world.”