BAA traffic up at Heathrow and inScotland

Passenger traffic at BAA airports rose slightly last month compared to March 2010, helped by the popularity of flights to China and India from London's Heathrow and growth at its three Scottish airports.
BAA, majority owned by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, on Monday said 8.27 million passengers flew from its UK airports last month compared with 8.19 million in March 2010 when volumes were affected by British Airways strikes.
Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, served 5.33 million passengers, up 2.3 percent.
"The valuable trading connections to India and mainland China continue to see strong growth (from Heathrow), which suggests improving economic circumstances and the increasing importance of these economies," said BAA chief executive Colin Matthews.
The airport operator said the Heathrow-New York route continued to be the world's most popular transcontinental route with more than 3.6 million passengers flying from Heathrow to New York in the last year.
March 2011 saw an average of one departure an hour from Heathrow to New York during the day and one every 15 minutes during peak evening hours, BAA said.
BAA's Scottish airports recorded a 5.8 percent increase against the same month last year but traffic at London's Stansted airport was down 7.4 percent on last year, while Southampton in the south of England fell 8.7 percent.
"In the UK, consumer confidence remains fragile, affecting airports up and down the country. Continued rises in the price of oil are a concern for airlines and passengers in all our markets," said Matthews.
IAG-owned British Airways last week said it would raise the fuel surcharge on long-haul flights, further squeezing European consumers struggling with rising inflation and wage freezes.
Industry body IATA expects global airline profits to halve this year due to the rising price of jet fuel, which will likely offset increasing demand.
Brent crude futures settled above USD$126 a barrel on Friday, the highest level in 32 months, as commodities surged due to a weaker dollar and as intense fighting in Libya raised fears of prolonged supply cuts.
BAA said traffic to the Middle East was only moderately affected by unrest in the region and that its European services continued to perform well.

Source: Reuters


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