UK air traffic up in July, NATS and IAG

NATS, the UK air traffic control provider, has said that UK air traffic was up almost one percent in July 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.

NATS said that that it handled 209,845 flights during the month, up from 207,871 in 2012. Several holiday destinations also reported growth, with flights to and from Spain up by 5.3 percent, the Canary Islands up 9.3 percent and Turkey up 6.9 percent compared to July last year. There were also more flights to Poland, up by 13.7 percent, Norway up by 16.7 percent and the United Arab Emirates at 6.8 percent.

Traffic at airports where NATS provides service also rose when compared to 2012, with the largest increases registered at Bristol by 11.7 percent, London City by 6.8 percent and Edinburgh by 6.2 percent.

However, despite the rise in July traffic, overall figures for the year are still behind when compared to 12 months ago. Year to date traffic stands at 1,241,854 flights compared to 1,251,932 in 2012, a drop of 0.8 percent.

Commenting on the data, Martin Rolfe, NATS Managing Director Operations, said: ‘Any rise in traffic is a positive sign for the UK aviation industry and the health of the country’s economy as a whole. However, while the trend is upward in recent months compared to 2012, we’re still short of where we were this time last year, let alone the record highs of 2007.’

Separately, International Airlines Group (IAG) also reported that its traffic increased by 6.6 percent in July over the same period last year. The parent of British Airways (BA) and Iberia reported that premium carryings were up by just 0.4 percent on declining capacity. ‘Traffic in long-haul is still influenced by the group policy to improve unit revenues through yield, rather than load, as well as by the timing of Ramadan,’ IAG said.

BA has received the first of 12 Airbus A380s on firm orders, with a further two of the super-jumbos to be delivered later this year, plus five in 2014.

The aircraft will begin commercial long-haul flights to Los Angeles from September 24. The next two routes after Los Angeles will be Hong Kong in October and Johannesburg in February 2014.