Air traffic numbers dip amid BA strike

The British Airways' cabin crew strike contributed to a slight fall in the number of passengers passing through the six UK airports run by BAA last month, it was announced today.

The company handled 8.2 million passengers at its six airports in March 2010 - a 1.5% fall on the same month last year.

BAA estimated that the seven days of strike action at BA caused a loss of 200,000 passengers at its UK airports last month.

The company handled 5.21 million passengers at Heathrow last month - a rise of 0.4% on March 2009.

Stansted was down 4.2% compared with March 2009, while Southampton was up 5.3%.

There were falls in numbers at each of BAA's Scottish airports, with Glasgow down 9.6%, Aberdeen down 4.4% and Edinburgh down 3.3%.

UK traffic at the six airports fell 6.8% last month, while Ireland passenger numbers were down 9.3%. European scheduled traffic rose 0.1%, but European charter traffic fell 2.1%.

North Atlantic flight passenger numbers rose 1.7% and other long-haul traffic was up 0.5%.

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: "There is no doubt that the market remains difficult, compounded by industrial action last month.

"Despite the industrial action, Heathrow continued to demonstrate the resilience which comes from its role as the UK's only hub airport."