5.9 million passengers travelled through Heathrow Airport, kickstarting 2019’s passenger growth. January’s figures improved by 2.1%, as the hub reported its 27th consecutive record month, boosted by passengers returning home after the winter holidays.
The best performing regions were Africa and East Asia, with an increase of 9.7% and 5.6% respectively. The African nations to make the biggest gains were Morocco (+40%), Ethiopia (27%), Nigeria (13%) and South Africa (12%). In East Asia, China saw growth of 27%, due to the continued interest in new services to the country.
Regarding cargo numbers, over 130,000 metric tonnes travelled through Heathrow on the way to their final destinations in January. The best performing markets for cargo were Africa, with growth of 8.9%, and Latin America which saw an increase of 8.8% largely driven by an increase in movements to Brazil.
In addition, figures from the ACI reveal that Heathrow remains Europe’s busiest airport, despite the airport’s current capacity constraints. The ACI also reports that aviation capacity issues are becoming more extensive across Europe, strengthening the case for Heathrow’s expansion. In this sense, Heathrow kicked off their eight-week long consultation on Airspace & Future Operations, in which the public is asked to help shape the airport’s future airspace design, both for the existing two runway airport and as part of the proposed expansion.
Also, in January, Heathrow became Britain’s first airport to launch a Shared Apprentice Scheme in construction. This scheme is an example of how the hub is working to ensure that 10,000 high quality apprenticeships are delivered by 2030. The announcement was made as part of the airport’s response to the recommendations from the independent Skills Taskforce chaired by Lord David Blunkett.
NATS and Heathrow announced the start of a trial which aims to understand whether artificial intelligence could be used to help regain the landing capacity lost during times of low cloud or reduced visibility.
“2019 is off to a stellar start, with more passengers choosing to use Heathrow because of our improved service and lower costs.”