Belfast Telegraph

Heathrow Airport passenger numbers up 1% to a record 76m

Heathrow Airport welcomed a record 76 million passengers in 2016, up 1% on the previous year.

The UK's busiest airport said the growth was driven by the use of larger aircraft, with around 40% of long-haul passengers travelling on new models such as the Airbus A380 and A350 and Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

This is compared with around a quarter in 2015.

The airport's plan to build a third runway was chosen in October as the Government's preferred option for increasing capacity in south-east England.

Heathrow's passenger numbers for flights to or from the Middle East rose by 8.8%, the Asia-Pacific market was up 2.8% and demand for European flights increased by 1.8%.

But domestic travel within the UK from the west London hub was down by 9.6%.

The amount of cargo transferred through the airport increased by 3%, while t he total number of flights rose by 0.2% to 473,231.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: "Heathrow celebrated 70 years as the country's front door in 2016 and I'm proud that we were able to end this year on such a high note.

"Whether it was welcoming back a triumphant Team GB from Rio or giving that special Heathrow service to a record number of passengers, increasing Britain's trade with the rest of the world or securing Government support for expansion, Heathrow is Britain's airport and we will continue to help all of our country thrive for decades to come."