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BA Numbers Continue To Fall

A further 3.2 percent drop in passenger numbers was recorded in March for the air group...

British Airways, Europe's biggest air carrier, said that March passenger numbers fell a further 3.2 percent, accelerating from the previous month's decline, as demand for air travel continues to suffer following the September 11th hijackings.

Traffic fell by 2.5 percent in February. Premium, or first- and business-class, traffic dropped 9.2 percent in March, while economy traffic fell by 2.1 percent. Seating capacity was cut by 11.2 percent from a year earlier. The load factor, or proportion of seats filled, rose 6.2 percentage points to 75.7 percent.

?Traffic is being maintained at the improved levels seen in recent months,? British Airways said in a Regulatory News Service statement. ?In spite of discounting, revenue continues to improve. Cargo also continues to improve and has shown its best volume performance since Sept. 11.?

Analysts have said that a recovery in the airline industry is in sight following a sharp decline in demand for travel after the terrorist attacks, though traffic improvements have been led by economy class travelers exploiting lower fares rather than by business passengers, who pay more for their seats.