Heathrow Airport had its best month ever in July, as the summer getaway sent passenger numbers soaring.
The UK’s biggest and busiest airport said it welcomed 7.53 million passengers in July, up 1.2% compared with the same time last year, and breaking all monthly records.
That means on average 243,000 passengers passed through the airport every day, equivalent to the population of Plymouth.
Middle Eastern destinations proved particularly popular last month, with traveller numbers to the region climbing 7%.
UK destinations also jumped up 5% after Flybe’s recent decision to introduce flights from Heathrow to Scotland.
Trade through the airport enjoyed a record surge as well, rising 15% to 143,000 tonnes.
Much of that growth was thanks to American Airlines, which boosted cargo volumes by 44%, spurring an uptick in trade with North America.
Trade with East Asia also saw an uplift on the back of strong growth to China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Britain’s global gateway is hard at work this summer holiday season – July was the best month in Heathrow’s history.
“With more passengers than ever and trade growing at the fastest rate ever recorded, Heathrow is helping Britain show the world our country is open for business.”
It comes as Brexit continues to cast a cloud over the aviation sector, with industry leaders urging the Government to prioritise an agreement in the talks with Brussels.
Last week, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary met with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling where he reiterated his warning that British airlines are at risk of being grounded unless Tory ministers strike an aviation deal with the EU before March 2019.
Gatwick recorded a 6.1% year-on-year rise in passengers travelling to China in July, marking the first anniversary of the airport’s routes to Chinese destinations Tianjin and Chongqing.
Overall passenger numbers rose for a 53rd consecutive month in July as 4.7 million people travelled through the airport – up 2.4% – making it the busiest July in Gatwick’s history.