There was a 4.6m million fall in passenger numbers in 2008, the first decline in 17 years. the decline was caused by higher oil prices in the first half of the year and by the recession in the second. Civil Aviation Authority figures reveal a 1.9% decline in passenger numbers in 2008, the first decline since 1991.
Stansted saw a 6% fall, 1.4 million passengers, Gatwick lost 2.8m with the collapse of airlines based there.
However, Charles de Gaulle and Orly saw an increase of 0.8%, Luton grew by 2.6% and London City by 12%, although its growth slowed in the fourth quarter.
The biggest gains for the environment were in the domestic market – the CAA figures reveal that domestic air travel fell by 4.8%, ~50 million journeys, as passengers switched to rail or used the phone or the internet.