The seven UK airports run by BAA overcame an early Easter to handle 11.5 million passengers in April, a rise of just 0.8 per cent on last year.
Figures published yesterday by BAA also revealed that underlying growth - calculated by combining March and April to eliminate the Easter effect - showed a gain of 4.2 per cent as the strong growth rates of recent months continued.
Despite the absence of Easter in the April figures, BAA said only Heathrow showed a year-on-year decline in passenger numbers - adrift 0.8 per cent at 5.6 million.
More low-cost services and long-haul routes enabled Gatwick to improve by 0.5 per cent to 2.4 million, while Stansted dealt with 3.4 per cent more people at 1.7 million, and the Scottish airports of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen handled a combined total of 1.6 million passengers, a rise of 2.9 per cent.
Southampton continued to expand at a fast rate, as the addition of new routes and greater frequencies enabled it to handle 19.5 per cent more passengers - 145,700.
The short-haul charter market proved to be the weakest sector during the month, with 21 per cent fewer passenger movements.
European scheduled traffic was up 1.8 per cent. North Atlantic traffic was unchanged, while other longhaul routes continued their recent strong trend with growth of 6.9 per cent. Domestic services attracted one per cent more passengers.
The figures represent continued growth for BAA, which in common with other aviation industry players has been recovering from the setbacks of Sars, the Iraq war and terrorism in previous years.
In January, the group reported an 18.1 per cent rise in profits to £521 million in the nine months to December 31, with chief executive Mike Clasper highlighting achievements including a pay settlement with unions and the completion of more than half of Terminal Five at Heathrow.
Meanwhile, Birmingham International Airport handled 669,742 passengers in April, a slight fall of 1.3 per cent on the same month last year.
Despite the fall, scheduled traffic grew by three per cent, with growth achieved on transatlantic routes which experienced an 89.7 per cent rise, on domestic services which grew by seven per cent, on European routes which rose by 7.3 per cent and on flights to Asia, which saw an increase of 3.4 per cent.
Other scheduled routes which saw a rise in traffic over the month were, Prague (up 176.1 per cent), Larnaca (up 52.8 per cent), Inverness (up 49.2 per cent), Milan (up 45.6 per cent), Amsterdam (up 30.9 per cent), Edinburgh (up 21.8 per cent), Zurich (up 11 per cent), Brussels (up 9.2 per cent), Cologne (up 6.3 per cent) and Munich (up 5.8 per cent).
Although the number of charter passengers fell by 16.6 per cent overall during April, growth was achieved on several routes including Barbados (up 558.6 per cent), Germany (up 45.7 per cent), France (up 30.4 per cent) and Turkey (up 4.6 per cent), reflecting the trend in the market towards alternative holiday destinations.
Scheduled traffic accounted for 81.6 per cent of the total April figure, while charter passengers made up the remaining 18.4 per cent. BAA's shares were unchanged at 5931/2p.