Heathrow Airport processed more than 70 million passengers in the 12 months up to March, its highest ever total for the period.

The airport’s management company, BAA, said the total highlighted the hub’s ability to offer good service and value for money despite economic uncertainty. The west London airport’s five terminals saw 5.7 million passengers pass through their doors in March, a 6.9% increase on the previous year, as Easter holiday traffic occurred in March rather than April.

BAA, which also owns Stansted, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Southampton and Edinburgh airports, saw North Atlantic traffic rise 13.6% while other long-haul routes increased by 5.2%. A strong ski season boosted flights to the continent, as European scheduled traffic also rose by 3.2%

However, not all airports experienced the same growth during the period. The airport operator said declines at Edinburgh and Southampton were compensated for by increases at Glasgow and Aberdeen. Despite the lack of growth at some UK airports, BAA saw a 4% rise in passengers in March to a total of 8.6 million.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said the 70 million passenger mark was a major milestone for Heathrow and demonstrated its “resilience” in difficult economic conditions. However, BAA still has to deal with another legal challenge after it lost an appeal against the requirement for it to sell Stansted.

Copyright © Press Association 2012

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