Heathrow Airport had its best year ever in 2018 as its throughput exceeded 80.1m passengers and its revenues were up by 3% to nearly £3bn.
The record 80.1m passengers represented an increase of +2.7% vs 78m in 2017, boosted by a doubling of Chinese connections to six new cities including Europe’s only flight to Shenzhen, the home of Asia’s Silicon Valley. The new links helped to push cargo flowing through the airport to 1.7m tonnes. Looking forward, domestic routes will also increase to ten this year, as new services to Newquay and Guernsey begin in April.
Revenue increases from increased demand and strong retail spend supported £793m investment into the airport, while adjusted EBITDA climbed to £1,837m. However, a continued focus on costs and efficiency meant operating costs per passenger fell 2% to £14.14. Charges were reduced to to £21.78 per passenger, 81.9% of whom said they had an “Excellent” or “Very Good” experience at the airport.
John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive Officer of Heathrow, said: "2018 was the best ever year at Heathrow. We were voted best airport in Western Europe by passengers, while continuing to drive down costs. We improved safety and closed our gender pay gap. We were named 'Responsible Business of the Year' and won an overwhelming parliamentary majority in support of Heathrow expansion. We remain on track to open the new runway in 2026. I am very proud of the outstanding work of 76,000 colleagues across the airport, who are delivering for Britain."
Holland-Kaye also confirmed that Heathrow’s preferred master plan continues to take shape and that the airport would release further details in June 2019. It remains on-track to submit a full planning application for the third runway and associated infrastructure in 2020, with the first flights expected to use the new runway in 2026.
Text © The Aviation Oracle, image © Heathrow Airport