Heathrow airport has record first quarter with 17.7 million passengers passing through

‘We’re within touching distance of Parliament voting on expanding Heathrow,’ said John Holland-Kaye, the airport’s chief executive

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Tuesday 01 May 2018 08:36 BST
Chris Grayling: Heathrow airport expansion 'on track' despite MPs' warning of environmental damage

Europe’s busiest aviation hub has reported another record quarter.

Almost 200,000 passengers a day passed through Heathrow Airport in the first three months of the year.

Between January and March 2018, 17.7 million passengers used London’s leading airport, a 3.1 per cent increase on the first quarter of 2017. The sharpest rises in traffic were to Latin America (6.9 per cent) and Africa (6.5 per cent).

Domestic routes and services to Europe and North America grew at a slower rate than the average.

Heathrow’s operating profit for Q1 was £220m, up from £212m on the first quarter of 2017.

“Aeronautical income”, from charges levied on airlines, was flat at £22.67 per passenger, while earnings from retail spend rose 2.3 per cent to £8.82 for the average traveller.

The airport’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye said: “We’re delighted that passengers are choosing Heathrow in record numbers – it’s a strong signal that we’re delivering value for money.

“We’re within touching distance of Parliament voting on expanding Heathrow and now more than ever we’re committed to developing and delivering a hub airport that Britain can be proud of for generations to come.”

The government has said its preferred scheme for additional airport capacity in south-east England is a new runway at Heathrow, north-west of the existing pair.

The Department for Transport has stipulated “a runway length of at least 3,500m and enabling at least 260,000 additional air transport movements per annum” – a 54 per cent increase on today’s figure.

The government has said it will publish a final Airports National Policy Statement for a vote in the House of Commons before the summer recess.

A formal planning application is expected to be submitted in 2020, with a view to the third runway opening in late 2025 or 2026.

Airlines have demanded commitments on the costs they will face from an expanded Heathrow, while opponents say the third runway will breach environmental targets.

In March, the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, said: “We can be confident that the third runway will not go ahead. It’s time for government to be realistic, stop wasting time and resources and press ahead with another option.”

Mr McDonnell is MP for Hayes and Harlington, adjoining Heathrow.

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