Heathrow: 2023 was ‘busiest ever’ year after seeing 79m passengers pass through airport

Heathrow Airport: 2023 was 'busiest ever' year

2023 was Heathrow’s “busiest ever” year as the airport saw 79 million passengers pass through to the end of December.

According to the airport’s 2023 traffic figures, Christmas and New Year travel helped boost its passenger numbers by 6.6 million last month – averaging at around 216,000 daily passengers.

Heathrow reported that its busiest day over the festive period was 22 December, when almost a quarter of a million travellers passed through.

CEO Thomas Woldbye said: “As we move into the New Year, I want to extend my sincere thanks to all our Team Heathrow colleagues and partners for their hard and successful work over the busy festive period, which went really well in terms of service and operations.

“By ending 2023 on a high, a strong foundation is laid for 2024 during which Heathrow will continue to grow and to facilitate the UK’s potential for global growth.”

This Christmas was also Heathrow’s busiest ever, having seen 142,000 passengers and 800 flights arriving and departing on 25 December.

Last year, transatlantic travel remained a key driver for passenger numbers with 1.6 million travelling to and from North America last month, as New York JFK clinched the top spot as the airport’s most popular destination with over 3 million passengers in total.

Meanwhile, the festive period saw Heathrow process 133,277 tonnes of cargo in December, culminating in a total of over 1.43 million tonnes processed in 2023 – a 2 per cent increase on 2022.

From January to December, the airport saw more than 4.2 million UK and 26.1 million EU terminal passengers – increases of 26.4 per cent and 22.8 per cent on the previous year, respectively.

Asia/Pacific terminal passengers represented the biggest percentage increase – 76.2 per cent – after almost 9.8 million travellers passed through Heathrow.

Overall, through 2023, the airport saw an increase of 28.5 per cent in terminal passengers with more than 79 million people flying from Heathrow.

Image credit: Heathrow Airport