22 MARCH 2010
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CAA figures published last week bring into sharp focus the very poor performance of UK civil aviation last year. With a throughput of 218m 2009 passengers numbers were down 17% to the levels of six years ago. The CAA seems to think that although they will certainly rebound, the pace of recovery is uncertain and it could be a number of years before they reach their peak level again. Regional airports were proportionately more affected than London’s. At Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City the fall was 4.9% overall, with the largest declines in percentage terms at City (14.2%), Stansted (10.7%) and Luton (10.4%). Heathrow, still the world’s number one international gateway, had the smallest decline amongst London airports, serving 66m passengers in 2009, one million fewer than in 2008. Gatwick handled 32m passengers, down 5.3%. Manchester, the largest regional airport, saw passenger numbers fall by 11.5%, whereas at Birmingham they fell by 5%. Last year 21m took UK domestic flights, representing a fall of 8%. www.caa.co.uk
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