Heathrow Airport records its busiest ever February half-term

By Benedict Evans |

LHR says these promising pax figures put the airport on track for record pax numbers throughout 2024.

Heathrow (LHA) served a record number of passengers in February, with 5.8 million people flying through the UK’s hub airport last month. Cargo tonnage was also up 21% on 2023.

The 21% increase in cargo tonnage outmatches most European airports by an average of 8%, and LHR said a mixture of travellers looking for warmer destinations, and those embarking on ski holidays contributed to this massive increase in pax.

2 million people flew via Heathrow over the spring half-term, a four-day span from 12-16 February, while the leap year lift contributed 207,000 passengers on 29 February alone.

Thomas Woldbye, CEO at Heathrow, said: “It was wonderful to welcome so many passengers for the first holiday peak of 2024, setting a new Heathrow record.”

LHR has added several routes in recent months, including more services to the north of the UK with Loganair, British Airlines routes to Abu Dhabi, Kos and Izmir, a new Virgin Atlantic service to Bangalore and the return of Vueling to Barcelona and Paris (Orly), in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Heathrow pax feb

Statistics from LHA show a near-universal uptick in pax across regions, with the exception of Africa.

Woldbye commented upon changes (or lack thereof) to the removal of tax-free shopping in the Budget, and the raising of taxes on aviation:

“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.”

Despite these positive statistics LHA said The Chancellor had missed the opportunity to back British business at the Spring Budget, prioritising short-term decisions over policies that would deliver the growth and jobs the UK economy needs.

READ MORE: Heathrow “deeply disappointed” in tax-free shopping pass in Spring Budget

READ MORE: Revenue from LHR retail concessions up 24.8% to £257 million in 2023

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