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Air passenger numbers increase

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Passenger traffic at BAA's six UK airports rose year-on-year by 3.8% in January, driven by a strong performance at Heathrow, new figures have shown.

Data released by the airports operator found that the six airports handled a total of 7.5 million passengers last month, with traffic figures at Heathrow rising by 4.6% to 5.05 million.

The increase marked Heathrow's highest January figure since 2006 and a record long-haul performance - a development that will have been noted by travel insurance firms.

The number of passengers passing through Edinburgh rose by 13.6%, while Aberdeen saw an increase of 9.1%, the Glasgow figure increased by 8% and Southampton recorded a surge of 3.2%.

However, passenger traffic at Stansted airport dropped last month by 5.8%.

According to the report, European scheduled traffic saw an increase of 2.7% while the North Atlantic figures rose by 3.2%.

Other long-haul routes rose by 4.5%, including increases of 30% on routes to China and rises of 10% on Indian services.

The increase in the passenger traffic figure was helped by the fact that the January 2010 numbers were affected by snow.

The January 2011 figures follow the troubled month endured by BAA in December 2010 when the company faced widespread criticism for the long delays for Heathrow passengers trying to get away for Christmas during the early-winter bad weather.

© Press Association 2011