Airport figures dropped like the temperatures

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Snow and ice disruption last month saw passenger numbers at Southampton Airport fall 22 per cent, BAA has revealed.

Thousands of air passengers were affected as the airport was forced to close temporarily.

Southampton had the biggest proportional fall across all of BAA's six UK sites in December.

BAA said the drop in traffic was almost entirely due to the severe weather.

The company said it had handled 7.2m passengers at its UK airports in December, down 10.9 per cent from a year ago.

Numbers were down 9.5 per cent at Heathrow, BAA's largest airport, with passengers at Edinburgh down 18.4 per cent.

BAA's chief executive Colin Matthew apologised for the disruption.

He has previously said he would not take his bonus for 2010 because of the 'unacceptable conditions for passengers' during the disruption.

Flybe, which is the largest airline operating at Southampton, said the disruption caused by the snow, which led to the cancellation of almost 2,000 of its flights, would cost it 6m.