Heathrow September traffic up 3.4 percent year-on-year

Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - London's Heathrow airport said it carried 3.4 percent more passengers last month than it did in September 2012, helped by rising traffic to emerging markets such as China and India.

It said on Friday 6.6 million people passed through the airport last month. Traffic to China and India rose 13.4 percent and 12.3 percent respectively, contributing to an overall 6.4 percent rise in traffic to the Asia Pacific region.

Heathrow, Britain's biggest airport which is part-owned by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, also said it would start a new five-times a week link between Heathrow and the Philippines from November, the first in over a decade.

"We are delighted to welcome Philippine Airlines to our family of carriers. But because Heathrow is full, it can take many years to achieve new routes like this one," said Heathrow's Chief Executive Colin Matthews.

The British government wants to increase flights to fast-growing economies to ensure that it does not miss out on trade opportunities, and with Heathrow operating at 99 percent capacity more runways are needed.

However, under pressure from green groups and its Liberal Democrat coalition partners, the Conservative-led government overturned a decision to build a third Heathrow runway after it came to power in 2010. Heathrow submitted plans to raise airport capacity again in July.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Paul Sandle)

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