Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 12:55 UK

Air passengers rise at Edinburgh

Ryanair plane
Ryanair has boosted passenger numbers at Edinburgh

Passenger numbers at Edinburgh airport increased by 4.8% in August, one of the few airports which recorded growth.

The figures from airport operator BAA showed that Glasgow had the sharpest decrease in traffic with a fall of 13.4%.

Aberdeen recorded a 9.8% drop in passengers with the airport handling nearly 270,000 travellers last month.

BAA said that industry conditions were difficult and the outlook for the rest of the year remained challenging.

The airport operator said the drops in passenger numbers at both Aberdeen and Glasgow reflected the impact of the global economic downturn.

A spokesman said: "Quite simply, fewer people are taking holidays and weekend breaks, or flying on business, as a result of the recession."

Overall, passenger traffic in the UK declined by 3.1%.

Recovery will not be aided by the UK government's forthcoming rise in Air Passenger Duty
BAA spokesman

Heathrow was the only airport apart from Edinburgh to record an increase - up 0.3%.

The London airport handled 6.4 million passengers making it its busiest August ever.

BAA said Edinburgh's success was down to two main factors - Ryanair's decision to increase routes and the ten of thousands of overseas visitors who flew in for the city's festival.

The airport operator said it was confident that growth would return to both Aberdeen and Glasgow airports, once the wider economy emerged from recession.

However, it criticised the planned rise in taxes.

The spokesman said: "Recovery will not be aided by the UK government's forthcoming rise in Air Passenger Duty, which stands in sharp contrast to a number of other European countries which are reducing taxes on air travel."

Last year BAA was ordered by the Competition Commission to sell three airports - Gatwick, Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airport.

BAA has appealed against the ruling and the case is due to be heard next month.

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