Heathrow passengers hit record level
Passenger levels at the UK’s six BBA-operated airports rose by 4.4% in 2011, with Heathrow leading the way with its best-ever year.
The west London airport put a difficult 2010 behind it to post a 5.5% rise in passenger numbers in 2011, as nearly 69.4 million people passed through its doors.
After adjusting for unforeseen events such as the adverse winter weather of December 2010, the British Airways strikes and the Icelandic volcanic ash, BAA revealed that the underlying increase was 0.9%.
December was a particularly busy period for Heathrow Airport, handling a record number of travellers at nearly 5.52 million. It handled a record 476,197 flights, which is just under its annual limit of 480,000.
BAA has complained that capacity restrictions at Heathrow is preventing the UK economy from growing further, and it is frustrated by the Government’s decision not to commission a third runway at the airport.
BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: “As the UK’s only international hub airport, Heathrow is central to developing our trade links with fast-growing emerging markets. Capacity constraints are damaging the UK economy today when the country can least afford it.
“A new hub airport has been proposed in south-east England, but this has a projected cost of £50 billion and may take decades to build. During this time we would be handing over on a plate the UK’s historic trade advantages to our European competitors.”
Copyright © Press Association 2012