Heathrow: Traffic and business commentary May 2015

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The FINANCIAL — Heathrow saw its busiest ever May with a record 6.34 million passengers travelling through the UK’s only hub, an increase of 1.7% on May 2014. May also set new single-day passenger records for arrivals (131,327 on 31st May), departures (129,059 on 22nd May) and overall (246,516 on 22nd May)

Larger, quieter aircraft continued to be a driver for passenger growth at Heathrow. Seats per aircraft increased 2.5% to 207.7 while passengers per aircraft rose 1.4% to 154.2, according to Heathrow.

Within emerging markets, passenger volumes were particularly strong to China which was up 19.2%, Mexico up 15.9% and Brazil up 11.2%. Middle East traffic was also up 2.3% as carriers added new A380s to these segments.

Cargo volumes at Heathrow the UK’s biggest port by value recorded growth of 4.9% over the past 12 months, including increases of 44% to Mexico, 21% to Brazil, 20% to Turkey, 11% to India and 5% to China.

New independent analysis of Airports Commission research and HM Treasury data revealed that an expanded Heathrow would be the UK’s best value-for-money infrastructure project, significantly higher than Crossrail, HS2 and Thameslink.

The Airports Commission confirmed that Heathrow’s proposals to charge airlines less for cleaner aircraft, to promote the use of electric vehicles and to institute vehicle standards aligned to London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone mean that Heathrow can expand well within EU air quality limits.

David Wells, CEO of the Freight Transport Association wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to not to overlook Britain’s exporters in the airports debate. Mr Wells stated that: “Whereas passengers could be persuaded to use a different airport, the diminution of Heathrow as an international air cargo hub favours neither the country nor the economy…the decline of Heathrow as a viable global cargo hub will increase the costs of freight and logistics across the UK.”

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Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:

“Heathrow’s new expansion plan is the best value for money investment government can make to get the economy moving – in fact, it is almost entirely privately funded.  The growth in passengers and exports to emerging markets shows how only Heathrow expansion will keep Britain at the heart of the global economy.  The Airports Commission has confirmed it can be delivered responsibly – within carbon and air quality limits and with fewer people impacted by noise than today.  Let’s get on with it.”


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