A RECORD number of passengers flew from Heathrow airport last month despite the impact of Hurricane Irene, which disrupted flights to the east coast of the US.
Heathrow’s owner BAA said 6.6m travellers passed through London’s biggest airport last month, up 0.7 per cent on the previous year.
Much of the growth in passenger flights came from journeys across the North Atlantic, with trips to Montreal up 50 per cent and Detroit up 42 per cent in August. BAA said that about 40,000 additional passengers would have travelled through Heathrow had it not been for the hurricane.
Growth at Heathrow helped offset a 5.1 per cent drop in traffic at Stansted airport compared with the August last year, which BAA blames on its airlines, including the budget carrier Ryanair, cutting back on capacity.
Meanwhile, the number of travellers at BAA’s Scottish airports rose strongly in August ,with a three per cent increase at Edinburgh and a 5.5 per cent rise at Glasgow.
BAA, owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, has been ordered by the Competition Commission to sell Stansted and either its Edinburgh or Glasgow airport in Scotland to improve competition in the sector.
But BAA’s chief executive Colin Matthews said the group, which was forced to sell Gatwick in 2009, is considering a judicial review that could further delay the watchdog’s ruling, which first started in 2007.
Overall, BAA’s six UK airports handled 10.7m passengers in August, up by around 0.2 per cent on the previous year.