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Low-cost airlines boost airports' catering revenues

04 November 2004

The continuing popularity of travelling on low-cost airlines has resulted in an unexpected bonus for airports' operator BAA, with more people buying food before take-off.

Latest figures from BAA showed a 9.1% rise in airport retail revenue to £312m in the six months to 30 September, compared with £286m for the same period last year.

BAA has 130 restaurants and bars across seven airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton.

They are run as concessions by a variety of operators, including The Restaurant Group and Compass's SSP division.

Budget airlines do not offer free food and drinks on their flights, meaning passengers are more likely to pick up snacks from shops or have meals in cafes and restaurants at the airport.

Chief executive Mike Clasper said: "Strong growth in car parking and catering income, supported by the successful redevelopment of a number of restaurants and bars at Terminal 1, Heathrow last year and Gatwick North Terminal during the summer, helped deliver this solid performance."

While the operator did not break down the amount it was making from catering in these interim figures, at its full-year results in May it said food accounted for £43m of its £548m retail turnover, a 13.2% increase on the year before.

by Nic Paton

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