British Airways saw its shares rise to their highest close in two years yesterday after reporting an improvement in traffic for last month.

The airline reported a 1.3% increase in traffic for September over the same month last year. This helped push BA shares up by more than 6% yesterday.

BA saw the strongest growth in more profitable premium traffic – first and business class travellers – which rose by 4.3%. Economy travel rose by 0.7%.

The passenger load factor was up to 82.4% in September, from 81.5% in the same month in 2009.

BA said: “Market conditions remain as previously anticipated, with strong yield performance in both premium and non-premium cabins.”

But total passenger numbers for the year to date remains down 7.4% on last year, due to cabin crew strikes and the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud that grounded European aircraft in April.

Last month saw BA, American Airlines and Iberia sign a joint business agreement which will allow the three carriers to cooperate on transatlantic flights.