Euro Crisis Blamed As Air Travel 'Tails Off'
The impact of the eurozone crisis is being blamed for a dramatic fall in air passenger numbers and cargo volumes to and from the worst-affected countries.
BAA, which owns six UK airports including Heathrow, reported that while 9.3 million people passed through its airports in May - a fall of 0.1% on the same period a year ago - there was a great concern within the wider figures.
It found that travel to and from the nations currently worst affected by the financial problems in the Euro area fell by as much as 11.4% at its airports.
Portugal's performance was followed closely by that of Greece which saw passenger numbers drop 11.3%. Italy's were down 9.2% and Spain's 2.5%.
Stansted in Essex saw passenger numbers fall 5.5% overall - with European scheduled and long haul traffic most affected.
BAA blamed a 0.6% drop in passengers at Heathrow on last year's late Easter and other holidays.
Southampton lost 4.7% of passenger in May due largely, BAA said, to an 8.3% fall in European scheduled traffic.
Its airports in Scotland all fared better but that was partly due to comparisions with last year's ash cloud disruption.
BAA also pointed to a 2.4% fall in cargo as evidence of the economic problems.
Heathrow's cargo traffic fell 3.8%.
The company's figures go some way to outline the pressure on the air and wider travel industries from the euro crisis.
Airlines argue their profits are also being hit by higher take off and landing charges at airports, higher Air Passenger Duty and high fuel bills.
Flybe recently reported an annual £7.1m loss despite revenues rising 14%, following a profit of £22m the previous year.
It highlighted falling consumer confidence alongside the increases in costs.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) believes European airlines will make combined losses of almost £710m this year.