September 11, 2013 / 6:41 AM / 4 years ago

Heathrow traffic boosted by larger, fuller planes

LONDON, Sept 11 (Reuters) - London's Heathrow airport on Wednesday said it carried 7.7 percent more passengers last month than it did in August 2012, helped by larger and fuller aircraft using the hub.

Just under 7 million people used Heathrow, Britain's biggest airport, last month, up on August 2012, which saw comparatively lower traffic during the London Olympics.

Heathrow said the average number of seats per aircraft was 204.2, up 3.4 percent, while the number of passengers on each flight rose 6.9 percent to 168.9, resulting in an average load factor of 82.7 percent, up 2.6 percentage points on August 2012.

"Larger, fuller aircraft continue to contribute to rising passenger numbers at Heathrow," said Colin Matthews, the Chief Executive of Heathrow, which is part-owned by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial.

More airlines operating from Heathrow now use larger commerical planes, such as the Airbus A380 superjumbo, capable of carrying up to 50 percent more passengers than a regular plane.

Middle East and traffic across Asia was strongly up on last year, while China and India traffic rose 28.3 percent and 18.7 percent respectively. European traffic grew 8.6 percent.

Cargo volumes continued to fall, with a drop of 6 percent.

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