UK airports see passenger numbers soar to new summer record

Exclusive: London City, Edinburgh and Glasgow reach new peaks in June

Freya Ellingsen
Thursday 28 June 2018 15:40 BST
London City airport gives great views of the capital
London City airport gives great views of the capital (Getty)

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Louise Thomas

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Even before the main holiday season begins, UK airports are reporting record passenger numbers.

Monday 25 June was the busiest day in the 31-year history of London City Airport. On the day that MPs approved expansion at Heathrow, 19,610 travellers passed through the Docklands airport.

Officials at London City expect to reach the 20,000-passenger milestone within the next few weeks.

On a typical day, Heathrow handles almost 10 times as many travellers.

London City is restricted in the annual passenger numbers it can achieve because of a curfew which extends for 24 hours from 12.30pm on Saturday, aimed at providing respite for local residents. Bank holiday operations are also restricted, with no flights before 9am.

British Airways, the biggest operator at London City, shifts some of its aircraft to regional airports such as Bristol and Manchester at weekends to avoid keeping them on the ground.

Edinburgh airport’s busiest day of the summer is expected to be Friday 29 June, with almost 54,000 passengers, 51 per cent of them departing, 49 per cent arriving. Almost as many passengers are expected on 6 and 13 July.

Glasgow airport will also have its busiest-ever June day on Friday, with an estimated 38,000 passengers expected to pass through the airport.

The following two Fridays are even busier at Scotland’s second-largest airport, with a summer peak of 40,000 expected on Friday 13 July.

By the end of the year Glasgow is set to become the eighth member of the exclusive club of UK airports handling more than 10 million passengers a year – though it is still well short of Edinburgh, which is approaching 15 million.

Further afield, Thursday 28 June is predicted to be the first “super-peak” day at the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passengers: Dubai.

The weekend of Thursday 5 July to Sunday 8 July is also expected to be extremely busy, as the majority of local schools are breaking up for the summer.

On each of those days, 220,000 passengers are expected to pass through Dubai.

Virgin Atlantic has revealed that it will stop flying from Heathrow to the UAE airport at the end of March 2019. Royal Brunei is dropping its Heathrow-Dubai link at the end of October 2018.

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