Monarch’s failure ends Birmingham Airport passenger growth

An Airbus A321NEO operated by Primera
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Birmingham Airport lost an average of 1,800 passengers a day in the first half of 2018, can reveal.

The airport has seen a fall in like-for-like passenger numbers in each of the past eight months after its long run of growth nosedived.

The fall has been caused by the loss of Monarch Airlines, which was Birmingham Airport’s third largest carrier carrying 1.5m passengers a year when it went into administration last October.

An airport spokesperson said: “The Airport and its partner airlines have responded speedily ensuring that the majority of these routes have been replaced as the demand from passengers is as strong as ever.

“, Ryanair, Thomas Cook and TUI have all added additional routes to their network or additional frequencies to ensure that passengers have choice from Birmingham Airport. Passenger volume this year is only just below last year and our airlines are already planning for further growth in 2019 to meet demand.”

It received more bad news yesterday, with budget airline Primera Air announcing it is to pull all seven of its European routes just 11 weeks after its maiden flight from Birmingham.

Primera Air said operations were no longer “commercially viable” from Birmingham, based on the demand it had seen for its winter schedule.

But in a statement Birmingham Airport responded by blaming “operational reasons” for Primera Air’s decisions and pointedly adding that the news was “disappointing, especially as there is so much demand for these destinations”. Primera is also stopping some routes from Stansted.

In June the Icelandic-owned airline suspended its transatlantic flights from Birmingham to New York and Toronto after less than a month. It had previously cancelled its Birmingham-Boston service before it launched.

The withdrawal of European routes will put further pressure on passenger numbers, which have been down by an average of 5% each month this year.

Analysis of data from the Civil Aviation Authority showed 331,000 fewer passengers flew in or out of Birmingham in the first six months of the year, continuing a trend that began late last year.

Birmingham Airport’s monthly passenger figures had shown like-for-like growth since at least 2014 until November 2017:

June saw a fall of 63,000 passengers, with Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands worst affected. Birmingham-Tenerife had nearly 15,000 fewer passengers, while Malaga was down by more than 13,000, Alicante fell 12,000 and Barcelona dropped by 11,000.

Countries which gained in popularity included Turkey, which added 15,000 passengers, and Greece, which was up by 11,000.