BAA transatlantic traffic still depressed

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The Independent Online

Transatlantic traffic at BAA's seven UK airports is still well down on the level two years ago although passenger numbers have recovered partially from the low ebb they reached after the 11 September attacks, figures released yesterday show.

Transatlantic traffic at BAA's seven UK airports is still well down on the level two years ago although passenger numbers have recovered partially from the low ebb they reached after the 11 September attacks, figures released yesterday show.

There was a further setback for BAA when firefighters and security staff at all seven airports announced a series of six one-day strikes over a wage dispute. The stoppages, which are scheduled to begin later this month, are expected to bring the airports, which include Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, to a standstill.

BAA said that the North Atlantic market increased by 26 per cent last month compared with October 2001. But it added that passenger numbers were still 14 per cent lower than in October 2000.

BAA also said that overall passenger volumes at its south-east airports remained flat last month compared with two years ago. Passenger numbers were down at Heathrow and Gatwick but this has been offset by strong traffic growth at Stansted where three low-fares airlines have their hub.

The group's Scottish airports at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen have also continued to benefit from the surge in passengers brought in by the growth of low-cost air travel.

A total of 11.4 million passengers used BAA's airports in October – 16 per cent up on the figure for the same month last year when air travel was heavily affected by the attacks on New York and Washington. For the 12-month period to the end of October, total traffic levels were up marginally at 124.2 million – a 0.7 per cent rise on the previous 12 month period.

Heathrow traffic was up 22 per cent last month while Stansted handled 24 per cent more passengers. Only Southampton reported a drop, with numbers down 2 per cent.

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