A record 17.7 million passengers travelled through London’s Heathrow Airport in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of 3.1% on the same time last year. The higher passenger numbers have been primarily driven by an increase in the number of flights taking off and landing at the airport due to a scheme launched late in 2017.
53% of passengers embarked on long haul flights with notable growth on routes to Saudi Arabia and Israel. 41% of passengers travelled on European flights with Madrid, Barcelona and Istanbul seeing a notable increase. Domestic flights within the UK made up 6% of passenger numbers, reflecting Heathrow’s domestic flight discount and the additional service being offered by Flybe to Scotland.
The increase in passenger numbers follow a number of awards recognising the quality of the airport. Heathrow’s Terminal 2 was awarded Best Airport Terminal in the World for the first time, while the airport also received the title of Best Airport in Western Europe and the Best Airport in the World for Shopping for the ninth consecutive year.
Passenger satisfaction is also at record levels with a record ASQ score of 4.20/5. 84% of passengers surveyed rated their Heathrow experience as ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’.
Revenue grew by 3.8% in the first quarter of 2018 thanks to a continued growth in retail income as well as a strong traffic performance. Retail growth of 5.2% was led by retail concessions and catering. The retail concessions were also boosted by a higher retail spend per participating passenger.
Aeronautical income grew by 3.1% boosted by strong traffic growth and increased headline tariffs while revenue growth from other sources was driven by regulated charges and property rents resulting from higher utility consumption. Heathrow Express revenue was flat as the airport transitions from a yield to a volume strategy.
Operational expenses before depreciation and amortisation increased by 1.8% due in large part to the provision of a limited disruption during one of the worst winters in recent years. Other costs also increased as the airport ramps up expansion related costs. Operational costs were down -1.2% on a per-passenger basis.
Dividends paid to shareholders amounted to GBP114mn which implies a 21% increase compared to the first quarter of 2017.