As one of the busiest airports’s in the world, Heathrow is used to serving thousands of passengers every day – especially during the busy summer holiday period. But July proved to be a record breaker for the West London airport. Heathrow has just released its passenger figures for last month and claims it was the “best-ever single month” in the airport’s history.
More than 7.3 million passengers passed through Heathrow in July – up 1.2% on the same month last year. That’s around 243,000 people every day. According to the airport, destinations throughout the Middle East proved particularly popular, with passenger numbers increasing by 7%. South America also got a boost with Brazil seeing a significant increase of 3%.
“Britain’s global gateway is hard at work this summer holiday season,” commented the airport’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye. He continued: “July was the best month in Heathrow’s history. With more passengers than ever and trade growing at the fastest rate ever recorded, Heathrow is helping Britain show the world our country is open for business.”
In terms of cargo services, Heathrow also posted some impressive improvements. Overall trade through the airport has increased at the fastest rate ever – up 15% to 143,000 tonnes of cargo in July alone. American Airline was a major contributor, increasing cargo volumes by a huge 44%. East Asia also saw a 14% increase in cargo volumes.
But that’s not to say Heathrow has increased the number of flights landing and taking-off from its two runways. The airport is famously stretched for capacity, so most of the increases in passenger numbers have come from better load factors and larger aircraft operating the same routes.
That being said, the airport did manage to squeeze an increase of 0.5% in ‘air transport movements’. This has been mainly driven by new subsidised domestic flights to Scotland – that led to 5% passenger growth on domestic passengers passing through Heathrow.
Only a few weeks ago, the airport released its financial results for the first six months of the year. Passenger traffic has increased by 3.9% so far this year, with revenue up 4.1% to £1,374 million. Heathrow even claims the passenger experience is getting better with “record punctuality and baggage reliability,” as well as 2.3% fall in passenger charges (although whether those savings will be passed onto passengers from the airline’s remains to be seen).
The airport continues to lobby for permission to build a third runway – In June, Heathrow announced new measures to combat poor air quality around the airport which is proving to be a major sticking point in its plans. The airport currently serves 194 destinations in 82 countries.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.