Airlines deploying larger aircraft on routes have helped Heathrow Airport see a rise in passengers during January, as Stansted announced a ‘bumper start’ to 2015.
Heathrow saw a record 5.45 million passengers use its facility last month, an increase of 1.3%.
The larger aircraft meant the average seats per plane was up 2% to 209 and this appears to be matching demand as load factors remained flat. Traffic was up the largest to Mexico, Brazil, Middle East and Central Asia.
Yesterday its nearest rival Gatwick announced a 5.5% boost in passenger numbers for the month, its 23rd consecutive month of growth. More than 2.3 million passengers used Gatwick in January, helped by traffic to the US and UAE.
Meanwhile Stansted Airport saw January numbers increase by more than 28% to 326,000, the airport’s busiest January since 2007.
Its annual traffic figures for the year up to the end of January 2015 reached 20 million, increasing 13.3% compared to the same period previously.
Dublin, Rome, Barcelona, Milan and Madrid have been the most popular destinations from the Essex airport.
“To be the UK’s fastest growing major airport and pass the symbolic 20 million passenger milestone just four months after breaking through the 19 million a year figure is a fantastic achievement and a clear demonstration of the popularity and importance our passengers place on the extensive route network we offer with our airline partners at Stansted,” said its managing director Andrew Harrison.
He added: “Stansted serves over 170 destinations and provides more scheduled routes into Europe than any other UK airport. It’s this connectivity that continues to drive our rapid passenger growth along with the strength of our thriving catchment area at the heart of the growing and increasingly successful London-Stansted-Cambridge economic corridor.”
Work continues on a £80 million project to update the terminal and its facilities.