Heathrow reports rise in international passengers
London Heathrow Airport, the UK’s busiest transport hub, managed to retain its lead in international passenger numbers for April this year with a total of 6.2 million, largely put down to the shift in the dates for Easter.
The figures, released by executives for the major airport, indicate a 6.7 per cent rise in the number of people welcomed by the airport from overseas during last month, compared with the same period from 2013.
However, underlying growth was found to be a still-impressive 1.9 per cent when the Easter timing change was taken into account.
The number of filled seats per aircraft shot up 6.7 per cent to 161 on average, while load factors were sky-high at 78.3 per cent for every plane. In all, cargo was up 4.4 per cent, although this increased by 26.8 per cent for passengers to China, 25.1 per cent for passengers to Mexico and 15.8 per cent for passengers to Russia.
It’s good news indeed for Heathrow, which has been the subject of widespread debate over whether a third runway should or shouldn’t be added in order to keep up with competition in other major transport hubs.
Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews was understandably pleased with the figures, but also pointed to customer satisfaction levels as an important factor.
“Our capital programme and continuous operational improvements have supported record customer satisfaction levels, with the proportion of passengers rating their journey as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ increasing from fewer than half six years ago, to a record high of 80 per cent this quarter,” he commented.
“With the brand new Terminal Two set to open on June 4th, we hope to improve those scores further in 2014.”
The travel industry will undoubtedly be watching as Heathrow opens the facility next month, which possesses a number of record-breaking achievements including the first kitchen in an airport to have an open flame.