BAA hit by the bad weather as passenger tally falls

AIRPORT group BAA said it has been hit by bad weather as passenger numbers decreased by 130,000 last month.

The battle against "the worst snow for decades" resulted in passenger numbers rising by only one per cent to 7.9 million year on year in November. The fog, snow and strong winds hit five of BAA's UK airports – Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Only Heathrow, where traffic was up 4.3 per cent in a fifth monthly record in a row, performed well with the airport well-prepared to deal with the adverse weather.

Without the severe conditions, Glasgow would have reached last year's November total. However, as a result of the snow, volumes fell by 0.8 per cent.

The worst of the snow disruption caused a loss of 50,000 passengers at Edinburgh, bringing numbers down by 3.9 per cent, while Aberdeen lost around 15,000 passengers, bringing its total down by 1.9 per cent.

Chief executive of BAA, Colin Matthews said: "It has been a tough month for passengers with the worst snow for decades but people understand that safety comes first."

Stansted and Heathrow stayed open, but Stansted recorded a 7.6 per cent drop in passenger numbers as low cost airlines relocated overseas.

Mr Matthews said: "We have invested in winter preparations and have worked around the clock to keep our airports running."

However, all three Scottish airports and Southampton could not avoid the inevitable as the severe weather conditions forced them to close.

Regardless of the weather disruption, the biggest private development in the country continues: Heathrow's 5bn investment programme.

BAA aims to develop Heathrow's Terminal 3 and build a new Terminal 2.

The group said it has already made progress in cutting queues, improving service and upgrading the older terminals.

Heathrow is less reliant on the UK consumer, with around half of its passengers coming from overseas. The company said its growth reflects the strong demand for long-haul travel.

Mr Matthews said: "Ongoing strong performance at Heathrow shows that the global recovery continues as we head towards Christmas and into the New Year."