Heathrow Boosted By 'Aerial Silk Road'

Passenger traffic at London's Heathrow airport rose 3.9% in March, boosted by strong growth on routes to China and India.

Of the 5.9 million people who passed through the London hub last month, passenger numbers to China rose 15.1% year-on-year, according to Heathrow Ltd.

India also delivered good growth, according to the operator formerly known as BAA.

European traffic rose 7.4%, despite the continuing weakness of the European economy, with especially strong growth on routes to Italy, France and Norway.

Heathrow said the growth was also driven by a record March average load factor, a measure of how full flights are, of 75.8%, up 2.4 percentage points.

However freight transportation contracted at Europe's busiest airport.

It said that Heathrow's cargo activity was down 2.3% in March, In line with slower world trade trends.

Heathrow was hammered in January by extended travel misery due to ice and snow.

But by February it posted an 11.6% rise in full year profits, which came amid a rise in airline charges.