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Heathrow passengers hit 5.27m in February

Press Association logoPress Association 11/03/2017

Heathrow Airport welcomed 5.27 million passengers in February.

This represents a 1.7 per cent rise on the same month in 2016, which included a leap day.

Heathrow, the UK's busiest airport, said the growth was due to the use of larger, fuller aircraft.

The west London hub's chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said: "Heathrow is off to a flying start in 2017. We're delivering the best service of any major airport in Europe to record numbers of passengers and boosting British exports with record cargo volumes."

Last month, the UK government published a consultation on its draft national policy statement which sets out why a third runway at Heathrow is its preferred option for boosting airport capacity in southeast England.

Gatwick Airport, which made a rival bid to build a new runway, saw a 9.9 per cent year-on-year increase in passengers in February to three million.

The West Sussex airport's long-haul routes continued to grow, up 20.3 per cent.

Los Angeles was up 90 per cent on the same month last year, and passengers will soon have another option for travel to the USA's west coast with British Airways starting its new route to Oakland, California.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: "Gatwick's February passenger figures demonstrate the confidence we are witnessing from our passengers, with travel still high priority following the Brexit referendum."

Manchester Airport maintained its recent spell of double-digit growth with an 11.1 per cent rise in passengers in February, reaching 1.66 million.

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