Heathrow attacks government policies despite projecting record year

The government has been urged by the boss of Heathrow to help the UK aviation sector compete globally.

The call came as the London hub reported a 4.8% increase in passenger numbers in April to 6.7 million, putting it on course for a record year.

Total passenger throughput for the year so far reached 25.2 million as April saw a daily average of 224,000 travellers. 

The airfield’s busiest day since October 2019 was achieved on April 19 with 1,337 flights.

A surge in travel to Delhi and Mumbai made these the sixth and eighth most popular destinations so far this year with New York, Dubai and Doha taking the top three spots.

While Heathrow remains on track to handle more passengers than ever before in 2024, a statement said that “despite our positive outlook for growth, current government policy is curtailing the UK’s global connectivity.

“Initiatives like the introduction of unnecessary visas for transiting passengers, the absence of tax-free shopping and the recently proposed hike in business rates, underscore the need for ministers to take a cross-government approach to policymaking that supports UK aviation’s global competitiveness.”

Heathrow chief executive Thomas Woldbye said: “As we continue to grow, our focus is on making Heathrow fit for the future, delivering reliable journeys for all our customers today and getting ready for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. 

“But to unlock our full potential to help grow the country’s economy, we need the government to implement policies that support UK aviation’s ability to compete globally, and thus make the UK more competitive overall.”

Heathrow reported that Terminal 2 welcomed its millionth flight on April 27 with an Icelandair flight from Keflavik ahead of the terminal’s 10th anniversary this summer.

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