The BAA's results for September are out and they don't make pretty reading, but then again that's far from surprising. Overall in the UK passenger numbers are down by 1.7%; that equates to over a quarter of a million passengers. For Scotland's two main airports the results are much worse; in August there were 50,000 fewer passengers flying through Glasgow and Edinburgh. In fact it looks like the number of passengers using both airports this year will decline by between 450,000 and 500,000 people. Passenger numbers have declined for eight of the last twelve months from the two airports. In fact both Edinburgh and Glasgow could show a reduction in their total number of passengers this year - Glasgow definitely will. Because of the summer bookings being made well before the credit crunch took hold there has been something of a cushion effect on traffic; over the winter there will be no such cushion.
Of course the most worrying trend is that how much faster traffic is falling to and from Scottish airports than it is from the other UK airports. As consumer buying power continues to get squeezed this trend could get significantly worse. My money is still on Ryanair introducing a much reduced set of new services come November. These are the ones that have already been delayed from a late September start-up - supposedly because of new aircraft deliveries being held up by a strike at Boeing that started a couple of days before their announcement. In the airline business November is a traditionally dire month to start any new Northern hemisphere services. Even if they do start up there will be some blood-letting as the carriers fight for traffic; six of the eleven new Ryanair routes already have existing service from other airlines.