Heathrow enjoys busiest year

2013-01-14 14:59

Heathrow recorded the busiest December ever this Christmas marking the end of the busiest year for the airport.

Travelmole.co.uk reports that 5.6 million passengers passed through Heathrow in December, a record for the month and up 2.0% on December 2011. Almost 70 million passengers, the highest ever for a calendar year at Heathrow, used the airport in 2012 - an increase of 0.9% compared to 2011.

Numbers were increased by more flights from Brazil and recovery in the Middle East and Asia. African and Indian traffic was down 5.7% and 3.4% respectively, due to airlines reducing or ceasing services. In particular, South African Airways pulled its London-Heathrow which operated seven flights a week. 

Overall European traffic increased by 0.5% although Greece was down by 7.3% followed by Italy down 6.8%. Traffic in 2012 was characterised by higher load factors - showing flights at 75.6% capacity, versus 75.2% in 2011. 

Colin Matthews, chief executive for Heathrow said, "Over the next twelve months we will continue to improve the passenger experience and focus on our investment programme, as we move towards completion of the new Terminal 2."

Meanwhile the Cape Argus reports that about 760 000 passengers - 162 774 international and regional and 597 213 domestic - moved through the airport during December, a 6 percent decrease compared to December 2011.

International dropped by 10 percent and domestic by six.

The decrease in passenger numbers was largely due to the closure of Velvet Sky and 1Time, said Acsa Cape Town spokesperson Deidre Davids. Despite this, she added, the airport was "still extremely busy."

In December 2011, the airport had 86 910 international arrivals, 12 436 more than in December 2010. Regional and domestic arrivals were also up by 26.78 percent and 4.52 percent respectively.

International flights pulled last year include Etihad airline which operated seven flights a week, SAA's London-Heathrow which operated seven flights a week and Air Malaysia's four weekly flights.

Domestically, Velvet Sky, which operated 39 flights a week, and 1Time, which operated 51 weekly flights, also closed.

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