UK air travel sector reports growth
Good news for the UK air travel industry, which has gone on to report its third consecutive year of passenger growth in spite of a difficult trading environment still affecting the world.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), airports throughout Great Britain handled a total of 228 million passengers, indicating a rise of 3.5 per cent or 7.8 million people since the publication of last year’s figures.
However, while it is certainly something to be celebrated, the organisation was quick to add that the number of travellers still remains well below the 2007 highs before the global recession took hold.
Clearly not wanting to be a killjoy, though, a statement indicated that the growing figures could indicate a recovery of the world’s financial health.
“Our figures show the strength of underlying demand for air travel, which picked up well in advance of the general economy,” commented Iain Osborne, CAA director of regulatory policy.
“Solid growth in UK GDP may mean that passenger numbers continue to grow healthily. This is happening despite a shortage of runway capacity in the South East,” he added.
Mr Osborne said that if growth continues to spiral upwards, airlines will want to operate bigger and fuller aircraft if capacity does not increase, in reference to the debate as to where Britain will open its next runway.
2013 was said to be a bumper year for London airports in particular, with Heathrow, Gatwick London City and Southend all handling their highest ever number of travellers.
Destination-wise, Spain proved ever popular with sun seekers around the world wanting a warm holiday on the continent, up 1.6 million with an increase of 4.8 per cent.
Egypt and Kenya, however, witnessed the largest absolute declines in passenger numbers at 97,000 and 85,000 respectively.