13 January 2011

The adverse weather in December 2010 has cost airport operator BAA Ltd an estimated £24 million, with passenger numbers down 10.9% on the previous year. BAA Ltd airports handled 7.2 million passengers in December with the fall in passengers claimed to be entirely due to the severe weather.

 Passenger numbers were down 9.5% at Heathrow, 22% at Southampton and 18.4% at Edinburgh. Of the £24 million loss from the snow, £19 million was accounted for by Heathrow, £1 million by Stansted and £4 million by BAA’s other UK airports. Lower revenues combined with higher expenses to result in the overall costs, particularly from supporting delayed passengers.

 For the year as a whole, BAA Ltd has reportedly handled 103.9 million passengers, down 2.8% from 2009. However, the airport operator has stated that excluding the impact of the severe weather and the disruption caused by the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in April and May 2010, its estimated passenger numbers would have risen by 0.6% in 2010.

 BAA Ltd also added that Heathrow was recovering quickly from the “recessionary trough” of 2009, with record passenger numbers from July to November 2010. Without the passenger losses as a result of the snow, it is estimated that underlying performance in December was broadly flat.