Heathrow's boss said today it had become "a critical national asset" as London's biggest airport posted rising revenues and profits for the nine months ended 30 September.
The results come in the same week the government reopened a consultation into Heathrow expansion for the public to view fresh evidence.
Heathrow's pre-tax profit rose 13.4 per cent to £229m from £202m this time last year, while revenue edged up 3.2 per cent to £2.2bn.
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 5.7 per cent to £1.4bn.
For the nine-month period, the airport welcomed 59.1m passengers, a 3.1 per cent rise, after a record summer. Retail revenue per passenger also rose 6.4 per cent to £8.33.
The airport said it had delivered better value for passengers over the period too, as charges fell 2.1 per cent.
Why it's interesting
Earlier this week, the government reopened the consultation into the expansion of the airport, to allow the public to review fresh data on air quality, and revised aviation demand forecasts that reveal London's five main airports will be completely full by the 2030s. Four of them will be full within a decade.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said the forecasts reveal the need for more runway capacity is "even greater than originally thought", adding that his department remained on track to publish final proposals in the first half of next year for a vote in parliament, despite the extra consultation period.
MPs had originally been expected to vote on the draft national policy statement late this year or early next, but that was pushed back to the first half of 2018 after the snap General Election.
What the company said
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow, said:
A strong performance over the summer – record numbers of passengers visiting Britain, double-digit growth in exports, strong global investor support and better service and value for passengers – shows what a critical national asset Heathrow has become.
Heathrow expansion is not a choice between the economy and the environment – it must deliver for both.
In post-Brexit Britain, it will connect our whole country to the global growth markets of tomorrow and a robust package of environmental commitments will help us expand responsibly. We are now getting on with delivering it.