Passenger throughput at Heathrow Airport rose by 2.2 per cent in 2015 to a total of almost 75 million. The increase was triggered by a surge in the number of fliers travelling between the London airport and Latin America and China.
The number of passengers on Chinese routes rose by eight per cent and on Latin American ones by six per cent. There was a slight drop over the Christmas festive period when the airport recorded a 0.4 per cent fall in passenger numbers. Both domestic UK and African routes also saw drops in the amounts of fliers.
The huge quantity of travellers using Heathrow makes it the busiest airport in Europe and currently the third busiest in the world. Commenting on the record numbers of passengers for 2015, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye stated it was a milestone year and more than ever emphasised that a third runway was an absolute necessity.
The CEO carried on by saying that the expansion would ensure the UK was a major global air hub for the 21st century. He noted that the airline industry had recognised the importance of Heathrow with awards for passenger service excellence and contributions to eco-innovation.
The Airports Commission headed by Sir Howard Davies released a report last July saying any airport expansion for London and Southeast England should be carried out at Heathrow. Despite the recommendation, a green light for airport expansion is a political hot potato and the government has been dragging its heels.
A decision on the runway is not expected before the summer of 2016 now. When the government first announced it was delaying the go-ahead, transport-secretary Patrick McLoughlin stated more research on noise and air pollution plus the overall impact on the environment needed to be carried out.