Air passengers double in a decade

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Airports operator BAA handled 98 million passengers in the 12 months ending at the end of March 1997 - almost double the number which passed through its airports 10 years ago.

In a breakdown of airport usage to coincide with the firm's annual results, the company said that of its airports, Heathrow had the most experienced fliers, with more than 17.8 per cent of those departing last year having flown seven or more times before. More than 47 per cent of those flying to or from Gatwick were on their first flight.

Southampton airport was said to be the most male-orientated, with only 36.6 per cent of passengers last year being women. Stansted airport had the youngest fliers, with more than 22 per cent under the age of 25.

As many as 45 per cent of Heathrow passengers were non-UK residents. Business, page 20