Heathrow traffic climbs as long haul flights rise

HEATHROW Airport posted record September traffic figures after 6.2m people used the UK hub, raising hopes of an air industry recovery.

Passenger numbers at Heathrow were up by 7.6 per cent last month, marking the largest yearly increase since July 2004, according to airports operator BAA.

Heathrow saw more passengers flying to Brazil, India, Russia and China compared with last year.

Passengers flying to Brazil were up by almost a third to 31,546 compared with 2009, while flights to Russian destinations saw a 23.7 per cent rise in passenger numbers.

North American destinations reported a 6.5 per cent rise in passengers, while 16.4 per cent more people flew to South America. European figures improved by 11.7 per cent.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said: “The growth reflects an improved outlook for our airline customers and an increase in business confidence.”

BAA now owns six airports – Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen – after it sold Gatwick for £1.5bn in December 2009 to US investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners.