Heathrow passenger numbers take off in strong start to 2019

Joe Curtis
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London From The Air
Heathrow complained growth is being curtailed by a lack of capacity as it pushes its case for expansion (Source: Getty)

Heathrow Airport started 2019 as it meant to go on by boosting passenger numbers two per cent year on year to 5.9m, it revealed today, despite posting a stark drop in demand for local flights.

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The 2.1 per cent rise helped Heathrow hit its 27th consecutive month of growth as it confirmed its status as Europe’s busiest airport hub.

However, it complained that future growth is constrained by its two runways, pushing the case for expansion.

Africa and east Asia were up 9.7 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively, with flights to and from Morocco 40 per cent more popular than the start of 2018, with Ethiopia up 27 per cent and Nigeria up 13 per cent.

Flights to and from China saw growth of 27 per cent despite an ongoing trade war between China and the US.

However, local flights within the UK plunged 9.3 per cent.

Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said: “2019 is off to a stellar start, with more passengers choosing to use Heathrow because of our improved service and lower costs.”

Cargo shipments slipped 1.8 per cent year on year, as 130,692 metric tonnes of goods made their way through Heathrow at the start of 2019.

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Despite a 60 per cent plunge in the UK, and a 22 per cent drop in the EU, demand from Africa grew 8.9 pere cent, while shipments to Brazil helped Latin America exports grow 8.8 per cent.