Heathrow saw 5.8 million passengers in April, a 0.7% decrease on April 2012. This was due to the earlier timing of Easter this year with all pre-Easter traffic occurring in March, leading to weaker passenger numbers for April as a result.
Combining the two months to take into account the ‘Easter effect’, traffic was up 1.6% over the same period in 2012.
The airport continued to see an increase in aircraft size, with the average number of seats per aircraft up 2.7%. The average number of passengers per flight remained at 150.9, resulting in an average load factor of 74.3%, a reduction of 2.1 percentage points.
Despite the lower passenger numbers, European traffic was resilient, up 1.4%. Amongst the countries where traffic increased were Italy (9.7%), France (9.9%), and Norway (22.5%). North America traffic was down 1.3% in the month, whilst traffic to the BRIC economies was up 1.8% overall, with China seeing the biggest gain, up 12.1% and traffic on Indian routes up 3.2%.
The trend for declining freight activity due to the current softening in world trade continued in April, with cargo down 3%.
Customer satisfaction scores have continued to improve at Heathrow. The airport achieved its highest ever passenger satisfaction ratings in the Airport Service Quality survey for the first quarter of 2013, with a score of 3.99 – beating our score of 3.92 achieved in the first quarter of 2012.
April also saw the announcement of the CAA’s initial price cap proposals for Heathrow from 2014 to 2019, including a cost of capital of 5.35% – down from 6.2% and 7.75% in the last two regulatory periods.
Chief Executive for Heathrow, Colin Matthews, said:
“The record customer satisfaction scores achieved last quarter are a result of joint work with airlines and our strong investment. We want to keep making Heathrow better for our passengers and airlines by continuing to invest. We operate in a global competitive market for debt and equity capital, and the CAA must set the allowed returns at a competitive level in order for those investments and improvements to continue.”