Record 2018 for London Airports

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Kenneth Iwelumo


London’s biggest airports enjoyed a record-breaking 2018, with passenger numbers at an all-time high.

Highlights included Heathrow passing the 80 million passenger figure for the first time in its history. Traffic at the west London hub was up 2.7% in 2018, boosted by an impressive 6.5m travellers passing through the complex in December. The figures represent the 26th consecutive record month at the airport.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye remarked: “2018 has been an exceptional year for Heathrow, with record passenger numbers and service levels, and with MPs voting overwhelmingly in support of expansion. We are on track to deliver an expanded Heathrow in the early years of Brexit, which will keep Britain as one of the world’s great trading nations.”

Across town, London City reported 4.8m passengers in 2018, an all-time record for the Docklands facility. The numbers represent 6.4% growth versus a year earlier, with strong demand among leisure travellers with flights to destinations including Porto, Malaga and Florence fairly particularly well. Analysis of the figures from London City show that while the number of movements actually fell by over 5,000 versus 2017, on average the aircraft used were larger and flying with a higher passenger load.

Responding to the figures, Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City said: “It’s proof that the fundamentals of London City – speed, convenience, connectivity and excellent customer service from the heart of London – remain very strong.”

Gatwick also reported positive results, with a record 46.1m passengers travelling through the facility in 2018, representing total growth of 1.1% year-on-year. Management highlight strong growth in the number of long-haul passengers and cargo, boosted by new routes with Norwegian, and the launch of China Eastern’s connection to Shanghai. The news was less positive for short-haul travel, with an 8.7% reduction in domestic passengers and 5.7% decrease in European charter traffic – the latter partly attributed to the demise of Monarch.

Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport commented: “As we begin the New Year, we’re looking forward to a fantastic 2019 in which we further increase our route network, with new long-haul flights to Rio and further frequencies to San Francisco launching in March.”

Elsewhere, Stansted also reported its busiest ever year with 28m passengers, a leap on 25.9m a year earlier, with highlights including a new daily Boeing 777 service to Dubai with Emirates.

Luton also made history in its 80th year as it welcomed 16.6m travellers, a 5% increase on 2017. The low-cost hub has grand plans for 2019 following the opening of its £160m redevelopment project, which promises to increase capacity by 50% to 18m by 2020.

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