Airports suffer slump in passengers

Airports in Ireland saw passenger
numbers shrink faster than any other European nation last year, new data shows,
with UK airports not far behind.

Shannon Airport in Ireland had the
worst decline in the 300-airport survey – dipping 37.2 per cent in 2010
compared with 2009.

Earlier this year, Shannon Airport
director Mary Considine admitted that 2011 would “bring challenges”,
but said that the airport was on an “upward curve” thanks to new services
to Gatwick and Paris among others.

Durham Tees Valley Airport,
Newquay, Humberside and Blackpool were other places where passenger numbers
plummeted, the airline network news and analysis company anna.aero found.

Overall, airport traffic in Ireland
fell on the previous year by 13 per cent and in the UK by 3.4 per cent.

That compares to a rise in annual
passenger numbers of 25 per cent in Russia in 20 per cent in Turkey.

In fact, the UK and Ireland were
two of only six countries which suffered a decline in passenger growth last
year, the others being the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Greece.

Anna.aero said Ireland’s economic
problems were “clearly reflected in the country’s airport
statistics”.

The company went on: “The UK
may have been hit harder than many by the Icelandic volcano fallout in April,
coped badly with bad weather at the beginning and end of the year, and seen
British Airways have its fair share of industrial problems, but this result
should be considered very alarming to the UK coalition Government currently
trying to revive the country’s economy.

“The increase in APD (air
passenger duty) is unlikely to help improve matters in 2011.”

The statistics covered airports
handling at least 100,000 passengers in 2010.

Overall, European airports handled
4.8 per cent more passengers in 2010 than in 2009.

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