UK airports start strong to 2019

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Some 5.9 million passengers travelled through Heathrow in January, an increase of 2.1 per cent on the figure recorded last year.

As Heathrow recorded its 27th consecutive month of growth, figures were boosted by passengers returning home after the winter holidays.

Africa and East Asia continue to be among the best performing regions, up 9.7 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively.

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

At the same time, MAG, the operator of Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, saw all its airports grow in January as it posted 6.8 per cent year on year growth.

The figure was driven by new long-haul links at Manchester and a resurgence in leisure traffic to Turkey and the eastern Mediterranean across the group.

London Stansted grew 7.3 per cent to welcome 1.93 million passengers, Manchester was up seven per cent to 1.78 million passengers and East Midlands Airport grew 1.2 per cent to welcome 216,000 passengers in January.

MAG expects growth to continue throughout the year, as new terminal capacity is due to open on time at Manchester in the spring and airlines seek to take advantage of the group’s significant spare runway capacity at its three airports.

Tim Hawkins, chief strategy officer, MAG, said: “January’s figures represent a good start to the year for MAG.

“In particular, our expanding long-haul operation at Manchester, is proving increasingly valuable to businesses and leisure travellers across the North.

“Airports with significant global links are national assets and MAG operates the two largest airports in the country with significant spare runway capacity.

“That’s why we are investing to enable us to handle more flights and more passengers in the years to come.”

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