Flights to Africa from Heathrow rise 6.2%

Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5A, arrivals concourse, September 2018
Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5A, arrivals concourse, September 2018.

Heathrow’s passenger numbers continued to climb in March, with over 6.5 million passengers travelling through the UK’s only hub airport, ringing in the 29th consecutive month of record growth for the airport. Notable spikes in the previous month were St Patricks and Mother’s Day, attitudes towards travel remain strong despite ongoing uncertainty around Brexit’.  ​​

Africa performed especially well over the past month, increasing by 6.2% compared to the same time last year. Domestic connections also saw a slight uplift (+0.2%) with British Airways launching its 2nd service to Inverness and Flybe growing their loads by more than a fifth (23%) with an inaugural flight to Cornwall on March 31.

More than 149,000 metric tonnes of cargo travelled through the UK’s biggest port by value, further demonstrating the importance of Heathrow in a post Brexit world.

Both Latin America and Africa saw remarkable double digit growth with the former up 23% on 2018 due to additional services to Brazil and increased volumes to Mexico. Freight to and from Africa grew by 11%, thanks to Virgin’s growth on routes to the continent.

Two of Heathrow’s Terminals made it into the top five globally, with Terminal 5 taking top spot. In addition, Heathrow was voted amongst the world’s top 10 airports overall and won “Best airport in Western Europe” and “World’s Best Airport Shopping”.

In March, Heathrow launched the airport’s new Innovation Prize to fund ideas and solutions addressing aviation environmental impact. The prize is sponsored by Heathrow’s new Centre of Excellence for Sustainability, which connects experts and offers Heathrow as a living laboratory to test and develop ideas that encourage sustainable aviation.

The expansion project reached another significant milestone, as the names and locations of the 18 shortlisted sites in the running to become offsite construction centres for Britain’s new runway were revealed. Shortlisted sites will now pitch to airport bosses for their chance to become one of the final four construction centres, to be announced early next year.

Heathrow announced the launch of their 10th domestic route. The route is operated by Flybe and links the hub airport to Cornwall in Newquay for the first time since 1997.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “Despite Brexit uncertainty, Heathrow remains a bright light for the UK, with the role we play in keeping people and products moving evident. Our new domestic connections will be pivotal in linking more regions and nations to global opportunities, benefiting all corners of this great country and we look forward to announcing many more of these as part of the expansion programme.”

Traffic Summary: March 2019

Terminal Passengers (000s)

MarketMar 2019 % ChangeJan to
Mar 2019
% ChangeApr 2018 to
Mar 2019
% Change
UK3910.21,039-5.44,736-2.0
EU2,2172.45,8932.127,7222.9
Non-EU Europe4870.21,332-0.75,713-0.1
Africa3046.28918.23,4065.8
North America1,4713.63,8385.418,2964.9
Latin America1152.83425.01,3674.0
Middle East597-10.91,768-5.47,559-1.7
Asia / Pacific945-1.92,8340.711,5511.6
Total6,5270.517,9371.480,3502.3

Transport Movements

MarketMar 2019% ChangeJan to
Mar 2019
% ChangeApr 2018 to
Mar 2019
% Change
UK3,089-2.28,442-9.737,828-6.4
EU17,5722.049,2060.2212,6070.2
Non-EU Europe3,9224.911,0361.643,882-1.4
Africa1,3477.83,9458.714,7533.0
North America6,7771.619,1661.282,8021.8
Latin America5136.21,5217.36,0976.4
Middle East2,546-3.97,469-2.030,509-2.1
Asia / Pacific4,0833.811,9084.447,5254.9
Total39,8491.9112,6930.3476,0030.2

Cargo (metric tonnes)

MarketMar 2019% changeJan to
Mar 2019
% ChangeApr 2018 to
Mar 2019
% Change
UK46-55.9149-45.8790-26.9
EU8,686-14.423,062-20.6104,802-8.1
Non-EU Europe5,10315.914,37214.758,9985.1
Africa8,67711.423,91811.591,1450.1
North America56,571-0.7153,856-1.1605,214-2.4
Latin America5,31223.913,84917.054,3969.7
Middle East21,378-3.560,589-2.8254,734-5.3
Asia / Pacific43,644-2.4118,378-4.3506,497-1.6
Total149,417-0.8408,173-2.11,676,576-2.3

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