Lack of space leaves Heathrow on shaky ground

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The Independent Online

The boss of Heathrow owner BAA has warned that Britain is "handing over on a plate the UK's historic trade advantages to European competitors" due to a lack of airport capacity. BAA's chief executive, Colin Matthews, said 21 emerging-market countries had daily flights from Europe that Heathrow did not cover, because the airport is full. Paris and Frankfurt have 1,000 more flights to China's three biggest cities each year than the London airport. BAA issued the warning as it said Heathrow's passenger numbers in December rose 2.8 per cent to a record 5.5 million. Stripping out the effects of British Airways strikes, the Icelandic volcanoes and snow in 2010, passenger traffic across BAA's UK airports rose 0.9 per cent last year.