Heathrow airport enjoyed the busiest year in its history last year, bringing in 80.1m passengers, a near three per cent increase on the year before.
The record-breaking numbers were accompanied by a climb in revenue of three per cent to £3bn, which the airport said was delivered by increasing demand and strong retail spend.
Over the past year Heathrow has doubled its Chinese connections. It now offers flights to six new cities including Shenzhen, known as Asia's Silicon Valley.
The airport also raised £2.3bn from private investors in 2018, up from £1bn the year.
Last summer the airport was giving the green light to proceed with its third runway, but is facing a legal challenge from the mayor of London Sadiq Khan and a number of councils nearby. A public consultation will take place this June, with the airport due to submit a planning application in 2020 for use of the runway to begin in 2026.
Last month Heathrow outlined plans to add up to 25,000 flights a year to its schedule before the controversial third runway is built, through the use of not just the arrivals runway for landings, but also the departures runway to boost capacity.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “2018 was the best ever year at Heathrow. We were voted best airport in western Europe by passengers, while continuing to drive down costs. We improved safety and closed our gender pay gap.
"We remain on track to open the new runway in 2026."