Heathrow Passenger Numbers Reach New All-time High

Over 18.5 million people travelled through airport in first quarter

Next two quarters anticipated to also be the busiest on record. Picture: Heathrow

April 24, 2024

Heathrow Airport says that its passenger numbers are currently at new record levels marking a complete recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

18.5 million people passed through the airport during the first three months of the year with particularly strong performances on routes to Delhi and Mumbai. Demand on East Asian routes was up by 40% and there has also been a strong increase on North American records.

The airport’s owners are anticipating that the next two quarters will also be the busiest on record. There is a chance of disruption ahead with aircraft refuellers who are members of the Unite union threatening to strike over pay on 4 May. Heathrow says it has a ‘robust operating plan in place to keep the airport running smoothly.

It also claims to be investing over £1billion in a next-generation security programme with the installation of 146 lanes across the airport and works have begun to replace the baggage system in Terminal 2 with a system. Both runways are also due to be resurfaced in a way which won’t impact the airport’s operating day.

Improved passenger numbers have helped the airport become profitable again with an adjusted surplus of £83million before tax in the first three months of the year.

Heathrow is urging the government to change policies which it believes curtail the UK’s growth and competitiveness. It wants a rethink of policies like the “tourist tax” that discourage international visitors from spending in the UK; and ‘unnecessary’ travel visas for transiting passengers that it says risk the UK’s global connectivity and Heathrow’s hub status.

Heathrow CFO Javier Echave said, “It has been a successful start to the year thanks to colleagues delivering a consistent, reliable service to our passengers. As I close the chapter on eight years as CFO, I’m proud that Heathrow is on a strong financial footing with a clear flightpath ahead. On the horizon is Heathrow’s busiest summer yet with more passengers and destinations served than ever before. We’re ready to continue delivering.”

It is believed that continued increases in passenger numbers could encourage Heathrow’s new CEO Thomas Woldbye to revive controversial plans for a third runway.

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