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Heathrow unveils record year of passenger traffic ahead of planned expansion

“We are on track to deliver an expanded Heathrow in the early years of Brexit, which will keep Britain as one of the world's great trading nations," said boss John Holland-Kaye
MPs backed Heathrow's controversial plan for a third runway last June

Heathrow had a record 80 million passengers travelling through the UK airport in 2018 ahead of an expansion that has been approved by the government.

Passenger numbers were 2.7% higher in 2018 than a year ago, supported by the use of larger and fuller aircraft. In December alone, 6.5 million people travelled through Heathrow, up 2.5% on the previous year.

Africa and Latin America were popular destinations for people seeking winter sun in December with passenger traffic up 9.3% and 7.0%, respectively.

"2018 has been an exceptional year for Heathrow, with record passenger numbers and service levels, and with MPs voting overwhelmingly in support of expansion,” said Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye.

“We are on track to deliver an expanded Heathrow in the early years of Brexit, which will keep Britain as one of the world's great trading nations."

Third runway

Heathrow is set to build a third runway after MPs voted in favour of the controversial proposal last June. Environmental activists have protested against the plan over worries about increased emissions.

The airport has said it would take action to reduce carbon emissions from the increase in flights that would be created by an additional runway, including investments in peatland restoration and free landing fees for the first electric flight.

There a number of projects seeking to create an electric aircraft. easyJet PLC (LON:EZY) has teamed up with US firm, Wright Electric, to create a 150-seat plane capable of flying up to 300 miles.

Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens are also working together on an electric-hybrid plane. 

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