Interviews

Heathrow CEO challenges David Cameron as airport transports record number of passengers

3 min read

11 September 2015

Former deputy editor

August marked the busiest ever month for Heathrow as it transported a record 7.33m passengers through the airport, which has renewed cries for prime minister David Cameron to stop delaying plans for a third runway.

Ryanair has demonstrated how profitable the British summer was by declaring its customer traffic had risen by ten per cent year-on-year in August to 10.4m passengers.

Following that, the airline went on to unveil a revised full-year profit guideline and increased expectations by 25 per cent.

However, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary warned that this was a result of “favourable industry trends”, such as bad weather driving customers overseas and cheap oil, thus cautioned shareholders to steer clear of “irrational exuberance”.

That said, the travel industry on the whole appears to have thrived over the period as Heathrow Airport has now revealed in achieved a record number of passengers passed through its terminals in August to reach 7.33m – a four per cent increase on August 2014 – and mark its busiest month.

Elsewhere, 2 August was the airport’s busiest day ever with 257, 312 passengers, while August also marked a record number of arrivals with 3.75m people landing at Heathrow.

The figures speak for themselves and put even more pressure on David Cameron to make a decision about the airport’s plans for a third runway.

Read more on the travel sector:

Autumn has already arrived, but it was back at the height of summer on 1 July when the Airport Commission backed the Heathrow expansion. A report from Howard Davies found that the development would provide £147n in economic growth and an additional 70,000 jobs by 2050.

However, some of Cameron’s party members, like Boris Johnson, are opposed to the move, citing noise pollution and it’s thought to be a factor in the prime minister’s delay.

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Other figures from Heathrow’s announcement highlighted that larger, quieter and fuller aircrafts were behind the growth in passenger numbers as seats per plane increased by an average of 2.3 per cent annually to 209.8.

Elsewhere, while Johnson and Cameron remain unmoved, latest figures found 50 per cent of residents in 12 local areas to Heathrow support the expansion, while 33 per cent oppose.

Furthermore, 57 per cent of residents said they feel positive about the airport, and just eight per cent have a negative feeling.

“With more local residents supporting Heathrow than opposing it, and with the backing of the Airports Commission, airlines, trade unions and businesses across the country, Heathrow expansion is the right and deliverable solution for the whole of the UK,” said ohn Holland-Kaye, Heathrow CEO.

“Every month that we delay is costing our economy £1bn. The prime minister has a mandate to give Heathrow the green light – let’s get on with it.”