Luton’s busiest Christmas not enough as passenger levels lag behind pre-Covid glory
Luton’s busiest Christmas day on record was not enough to return the airport to its former glory, with passenger numbers still significantly lagging behind pre-pandemic levels.
The Bedfordshire hub said that 1.1m passengers passed through its gates in December, 87.9 per cent up on last year’s levels.
Luton also reported its busiest Christmas day ever, as over 12,000 departing passengers travelled through the airport, taking its 2022 passenger total to over 13.1m. However, this number significantly trails 2019, when the airport reported 18m passengers, showing the hub has yet to recover the from the pandemic’s impact.
“It has been an extremely exciting 12 months for London Luton Airport,” said chief executive Alberto Martin.
“Our teams have worked incredibly hard to deliver a consistently smooth and friendly passenger experience and this was reflected in the overwhelmingly positive customer satisfaction results that were achieved over 2022.”
Compared to the likes of Heathrow and Gatwick, Luton was less impacted by the summer’s travel chaos, with the majority of travellers rating the airport’s services “very good” or “excellent”.
Heathrow announced yesterday that its passenger numbers skyrocketed to 5.9m last month despite the challenges posed by the Border Force strikes over the festive period.
City A.M. understands Gatwick and Stansted’s owner MAG will release their passenger figures in the next few days.
Luton has recently made the headlines as the opening of a new railway connecting the airport to Luton Parkway station has been postponed again.
The direct air-transit link’s (Dart) grand opening was pushed back to last October after its original 2021 deadline was missed.
But works on the 1.4-mile rail have been further delayed by the pandemic as well as technology upgrades, which have caused the costs to soar to £300m – up from an originally estimated £225m.