The latest CAA statistics show a mixed picture for UK regional airports, with some clear success stories with others wondering how they can survive another year. With a number of challenges ahead, it is appropriate to take stock and see what the future holds in the light of market trends and future aviation policy.
In terms of passengers handled, the performance of most UK regional airports has been reasonably good over the past five years. Between 2013 and 2018, the top 10 regional airports grew by an average of 6.2% pa compared with 4.9% pa for the London airports and 5.1% pa for the UK market as a whole.
These top 10 airports include Belfast International (up by some 9.3% pa) which now flies to some 44 destinations, although direct services to the US by Norwegian Air were suspended in November 2018. Edinburgh, up by an average of 7.9% pa, currently flies to some 126 destinations worldwide including New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Dubai and Doha. At Manchester, the UK’s third largest airport, some 70 airlines now fly to over 210 destinations worldwide and new services have recently been announced by Virgin Atlantic and Jet2.
Cardiff Airport: Passengers have risen by 8.7% per annum over the past five years