Heathrow and Luton announce record years as passenger numbers at Luton climb by 18.5 per cent

Rebecca Smith
Both Heathrow and Luton airports announced passenger numbers continued to ramp up
Both Heathrow and Luton airports announced passenger numbers continued to ramp up (Source: Getty)

2016 might not have been everyone's favourite year, but it was certainly a fruitful one for Heathrow.

The UK's biggest airport was given the government's blessing for expansion and it's now just announced a record 76m passengers came through its doors for the year, up one per cent on 2015.

In the year where the airport celebrated its 70th anniversary, December passenger volumes also set a new record, with 6.2m passengers travelling through the airport, up 4.4 per cent.

Read more: Gatwick's airlines are switching terminals: Here's what you need to know

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye, said: "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."

It was also a successful year for Luton Airport, which had its busiest year to date too. Some 14.5m passengers travelled through the airport - up nearly a fifth on last year and marking 33 months of consecutive passenger growth. A 24.6 per cent rise in passenger numbers was recorded for December compared to the same month last year.

The largest single investment in the airport's history is underway to boost annual capacity by 50 per cent, from 12m passengers to 18m passengers by 2020.

Read more: Luton Airport had another record-breaking month

Nick Barton, chief executive of London Luton Airport, said: "In a year when airport capacity has hit the headlines more than ever before, we’ve been working hard to meet demand. This year, passengers will start to see the benefits of the redevelopment."

He added that efforts were ongoing to secure four fast trains per hour to Luton Airport Parkway as part of the upcoming East Midlands rail refranchising.

"Alongside the light rail link, more fast trains will make it possible to reach LLA from London St Pancras in less than 30 minutes - faster than the current links to both Gatwick and Stansted," Barton said.

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