British Airways has reported weak demand for short-haul premium traffic, suggesting more business travellers are flying economy.

The airline said long-haul business traffic remains strong.

Its latest traffic figures show a small year-on-year increase in passenger numbers in December, but a near 4% fall in load factor – or proportion of seats sold – on European flights.

Ryanair reported an 18% increase in passenger numbers year on year to almost four million in December, but its load factor was down two percentage points to 79%.

Business-only carrier Silverjet, which operates from Luton to New York and Dubai, reported its December passenger numbers up 10% on the previous month, giving an average load factor of 53%.