Saturday, September 13, 2008

The BAA in Scotland

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.

1 comment:

Increase Web Site Traffic said...

What would you do if your neighbour blasted loud noise every couple of minutes until late in the night; pumped toxic gases into the air and generally went out of their way to be anti-social? Welcome to the world of Clydebank residents, living near Glasgow airport. Sick of BAA dismissing their complaints as "isolated occurrences", they've banded together and demanded BAA be served with an ASBO.

This is one of the first outcomes of the Airportwatch Scotland's 'PlaneSpeaking' community mobilisation against airport expansion. Whilst Clydebank slaps an ASBO on BAA, other activists are working with airport staff on 'just transition' issues. Meanwhile other locals are plotting hard, with talk of mass kite-flying or balloon-releasing activities (which could ground planes for 'health and safety'). Watch this space...

Instead of tackling the problems residents suffer from, the Scottish Parliament is pushing ahead with its National Planning Framework (NPF) expansion proposals, which would classify airport expansion as incontestable "projects of National Interest". It's also ignoring demands for international aviation to be included in the Climate Bill. Faced with this stonewalling, Scottish communities are growing militant. 2009 looks to be an interesting year...