The boss of Heathrow today warned that the UK will fall behind as a global trading nation without an expanded hub airport.

Chief executive Colin Matthews issued the caution as figures for September showed a 3.4% rise in passengers using Heathrow to 6.6 million in September,

The average number of passengers on each flight rose by 1.5% to 164.

Traffic to China and India was up 13.4% and 12.3% respectively. Overall traffic to the emerging BRIC nations was up 5.3% on the same month last year.

September saw the announcement of a new five-times a week service between Heathrow and the Philippines from November, the first in more than a decade.

Matthews said: “We are delighted to welcome Philippine Airlines to our family of carriers. But because Heathrow is full, it can take many years to achieve new routes like this one.

“Linking British businesses to trading opportunities in key emerging markets is vital, and without a larger hub airport the UK can expect to fall behind in the global race for trade, jobs and economic growth.”

Meanwhile, passengers using Heathrow Holdings-owned Glasgow airport grew by 3.8% last month to 764,400, Aberdeen was up by 6.3% to 322,000 and Southampton up by 3.7% to 172,200.