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BA cabin crew strike leads to fall in airport passengers

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 yesterday.

The company handled 8.2m 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 5.21m 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%.

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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.

It was also announced that a former BAA-run airport — Gatwick in West Sussex — handled almost 2.39m passengers last month, a 3% rise on the March 2009 total.

North Atlantic traffic at Gatwick was down 17.6% in March 2010, while European charter traffic dipped 10.3%. But European scheduled flight passenger numbers rose 10.8% and long-haul traffic other than on North Atlantic routes increased 6.2%.