PASSENGER numbers at Southampton Airport fell by 4.7 per cent last month.

A total of 150,471 passengers passed through the airport’s terminals in May, down from 157,942.

Airport operator BAA said it was due largely to an 8.3 per cent drop in European scheduled traffic.

Southampton Airport managing director Dave Lees said: “2012 has been a mixed year for Southampton so far with some months being in growth and others being down.

“However, we anticipate that the year will be overall very similar to last year. "Several new routes have been announced for the summer including Barcelona which starts June 23, Ibiza which started last week and Tours in the Loire Valley.”

The airport handled 1.76m passengers last year. Its best year was 2007 when it welcomed 1.97m passengers.

Across BAA’s five other airports, more than 5.8 million passengers passed through Heathrow’s terminals last month, a fall of 0.6 per cent compared with May 2011.

Airport operator BAA said the fall was largely due to last year’s late Easter and Royal Wedding which boosted traffic in May 2011, whilst the move of the late May bank holiday into June this year reduced May 2012’s traffic figures.

Passenger numbers at Glasgow rose almost 10 per cent, whilst Aberdeen saw passenger numbers rise nearly 16 per cent and Edinburgh handled 2.2 per cent more passengers compared with last year.

The Scottish airports all saw their performance affected by cancellations in May last year due to the volcanic ash cloud.

Stansted saw passengers numbers fall 5.5 per cent with European scheduled and long haul traffic most affected.