London-Heathrow Airport sees busiest February ever as passenger numbers soar  - Istanbul Airport Meet and Assist

London-Heathrow Airport (LHR) saw its busiest-ever February in 2024 as passenger numbers continued to soar at the UK’s busiest international airport. Heathrow served a record number of passengers with 5.8 million people flying through the hub throughout February 2024.

The busiest-ever February half-term school holiday saw more than two million passengers pass through the airport. While winter ski destinations were popular, it was short breaks to winter sun destinations that saw the bulk of the traffic, with almost two-thirds of travelers heading to locations warmer than London.

Even ignoring the fact that 2024 is a leap year and the airport handled around 207,000 passengers on February 29, 2024, alone, these latest figures confirm that the airport remains on track to handle more passengers in 2024 than any year in its history.

In addition to passenger numbers, cargo tonnage throughput was also up 21% in February 2024 over the same month in 2023. Heathrow outperformed both its main European comparators and the global average, which came in at 8%.

Along with booming traffic figures, Heathrow’s list of destinations continues to increase. The latest route additions include more services to Scottish cities served by home-grown Scottish carrier Loganair, new British Airways routes to Abu Dhabi (AUH), Kuala Lumpur (KUL), Kos (KGS) and Izmir (ADB), and a new Virgin Atlantic service to Bangalore (BLR), The return of IAG-owned airline Vueling operating new services to both Barcelona (BCN) and Paris (Orly) in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics gives the west London airport more European links, and will also bring more connecting passengers through Heathrow.

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London Heathrow Airport

“It was wonderful to welcome so many passengers for the first holiday peak of 2024, setting a new Heathrow record,” said Heathrow CEO, Thomas Woldbye. “While we are serving more people, visitors to the UK are spending less since the removal of tax-free shopping, impacting businesses across the country. The Spring Budget was a missed opportunity to give the whole tourism, hospitality, and retail sector the support it needs to compete internationally.”

The airport’s management clearly remains frustrated by what it perceives to be a lack of support from the UK government and its ongoing fiscal policies.

According to a Heathrow Airport press release, Jeremy Hunt, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer “missed the opportunity to back British business at the Spring Budget, prioritizing short-term decisions over policies that would deliver the growth and jobs the UK economy needs. Instead, [Hunt] raised taxes on aviation with no ring-fencing for the green transition.”

In 2023, the UK’s leading air travel hub saw massive growth with passenger numbers recovering to 79.2 million, the third-highest year in Heathrow’s history. Additionally, the airport outperformed all other European hubs by being rated as the “best airport in Europe”, claimed the title of the world’s “most connected” hub, and returned to the top five largest airports in the world.

In 2024, the airport hopes to handle a total of 81.4 million – more passengers than it has ever handled in a single year previously.  

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Vueling to being services to Barcelona and Paris from London-Heathrow

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