Apr 12, 2013 10:28 BST
Traffic at London’s Heathrow airport was at its highest ever March level last month, with 5.9 million passengers going through the hub, up 3.9% on the previous year.
The figures were driven by a record March average load factor of 75.8%, up 2.4 percentage points. This was on top of an increase in the average number of seats per aircraft, up 1.8% to 199.3, another record for the month.
The airport said the integration of bmi into the British Airways network was the main driver of the increased numbers, along with more people escaping the unseasonably cold weather for sunnier climes in southern Europe.
European traffic increased 7.4%, despite the continuing weakness of the European economy. Amongst the countries where traffic increased were Italy (19.4%), France (18.9%), Germany (7.9%) and Norway (25.9%). However, traffic to Greece dropped 21.1% on March last year.
All of the BRIC economies recorded growth, up 5.1% in total. China saw the strongest increase, up 15.1%, followed by India (3.9%), Russia (3.0%) and Brazil (2.9%). Middle Eastern traffic was the fastest growing region, up 9.2% overall on the same month last year.
Many of Heathrow’s passengers travelled through Terminal 5, which was this week named ‘Best Airport Terminal’ in the world for the second year running at the Skytrax World Airport Awards, widely regarded as the quality benchmark for the industry.
Chief Executive for Heathrow, Colin Matthews, said: “T5 being voted ‘best airport terminal in the world’ for the second year running shows that passengers appreciate progress at Heathrow.”
Heathrow was hammered in January by extended travel misery due to ice and snow. But by February it posted an 11.6% rise in full year profits, which came amid a rise in airline charges.
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