Friday, March 16, 2007


Having worked in the airline industry I've always kept a keen eye on what the BAA are up to. Not least because a lot of the time they forget they are an airport operator and get a little confused and think they are running out of town shopping malls.

In Edinburgh the argument put forward in the 'Master plan' in 2005 for expanding the airport is fundamentally flawed. The BAA at Edinburgh is waging a campaign to fool people about its growth. They continually talk about passenger numbers trebling to 26 million by 2030. This is absolute nonsense. These are the 'high' expectations as predicted in their Edinburgh master plan. This annual growth rate of 4.6% is totally unachievable. Since publishing their master plan back in May 2005 the traffic at the airport has shown a slowdown in growth. Last year it grew by 0.3% and already this year the year over year growth rates are running at less than half the 2006 levels. In fact the increase in passengers in 2007 over 2006 is about an aircraft load a day in and out of the airport - hardly stellar growth. When you consider the new routes that are operating this year over last and the fact that they will have taken passengers away from connecting flights over London it's even more pathetic.

The passenger numbers in their plan for 2013 at the high level are predicted to be 13.7 million. I reckon they will be lucky to make 10 - 11 million. which is below their low estimate.

Given the 'soaring' growth in the number of routes this year it's even less likely they'll do very well. The destinations that have been added are thin routes and there's little or no major city wide-body expansion.

Always remember that the BAA need to keep bandying around these growth figures because a, they want to expand the airport and b, it's a share price driven company.

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