BA strike takes its toll on traffic at London airports

HEATHROW saw 180,000 fewer passengers in March due to the strike action launched by British Airways cabin crew, according to BAA.

The airports operator, majority owned by Spain’s Grupo Ferrovial, yesterday said that Heathrow handled 5.2m passengers last month, a 0.4 per cent increase.

But passenger numbers would have risen by 3.8 per cent if BA cabin crew had not staged several days of strikes last month, BAA?said.

BAA chief executive officer 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.”

Airports in the London area saw a total of 6.6m passengers fly during March, a 0.7 per cent drop on last year.

Stansted airport, which is home to a number of discount airlines like Ryanair flew 1.4m passengers during the month, a 4.2 per cent fall on last year.

During the first three months of the year, London’s airports flew nearly 20m passengers, with Heathrow flying 14.6m of these passengers and Stansted flying 3.9m people.

Last week British Airways reported that the strikes have cost it 40,000 passengers and up to £45m.

The dispute, over jobs and pay, is ongoing, although the airline’s Unite union has not yet announced any further strike dates.