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Cost of Unite action against British Airways revealed in official figures

The seven days of cabin crew strikes certainly left their mark on British Airways' passenger figures for March, official statistics showed yesterday.

The airline carried just under 2.3 million passengers last month - a 14.6% reduction on the March 2009 total of just over 2.6m.

BA attributed half of the decline to winter capacity reductions and half to the strikes, which saw cabin crew walk out from March 20-22 and March 27-30.

The decline last month was most marked in the Asia Pacific sector, which was down 25.3% compared with March 2009.

UK and Europe traffic fell 18.6%, while Africa and Middle East flight passenger numbers were down 10.3% and traffic to North and South America (including the Caribbean) was down 3.7%.

BA planes flew 74.7% full last month - an increase of 2% on the March 2009 figures.

BA said the total impact of the strike action last month was estimated to be £40m to £45m. The Unite union, representing the cabin crew, pledged not to take any action over Easter and is yet to announce any further strikes. The dispute, over cost-cutting and jobs, remains deadlocked with little sign of an early breakthrough.

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Meanwhile, budget airline Ryanair yesterday announced it flew 5.3m passengers last month - a 13% increase on the March 2009 figure.

Ryanair's planes flew 79% full in March 2010 - a 2% rise on the same month last year.