Some airports get smaller and others…

By | Category: Travel rumblings

There are plans for a new runway at Heathrow. Some people think there will be another one at Gatwick when the planning rules expire in about eight years time. In the meantime the crunch is hitting airports now. The extent was brought closer to everyday life with the decision of Prestwick airport to shed about 120 of its 452 workforce. To have to dismiss 25% of all your staff says something about either the downturn in air travel or the way the airport is managed.
Prestwick is a slightly odd airport. Nestling on the Ayrshire cost it is about a 45 minute train journey from Glasgow. As an airport with lots of potential passengers living nearby it is a bit like Manston in Kent. The sea rules out having a complete surround of people. So it has relied on cargo and no-frills airlines. But cargo has been more affected by the downturn than travellers. Cargo traffic at Prestwick is down by 21% and aircraft movements by 8%. Glasgow travel is down by 12%, Edinburgh by 8.6% and Aberdeen by 5.8% say its owners, BAA
So whilst it looks odd that some airports are planning to expand, the reality is that expansion takes years, at least 5 and often 10 or more so planners forecast when the upturn comes and start applying to build accordingly.
And forecasting at the moment may be an art in reading tea leaves rather than a science.

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