Airports boom during busy half-term as Brits seek sun

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

THE economy might be steady at best, but airports are booming as people look to get out of the UK, at least on holiday.

Heathrow today said it served a record breaking 81.5m passengers in the 12 months to May.

Meanwhile a bumper half-term holiday week at London Stansted helped boost May’s passenger numbers to a record-breaking 2.7million, the busiest ever May at the airport.

The monthly total was up 6.4% on the same month in 2023, and surpassed the previous busiest ever May in 2019 by 143,000 passengers.

Heathrow said of Terminal 2: “The Queen’s Terminal celebrates 10 years of operations this summer. Since opening in 2014 it has seen 148m passengers traveling to more than 30 different countries on over a million flights.”

Heathrow CEO Thomas Woldbye said: “Supporting 81m journeys doesn’t just help families to make wonderful holiday memories, importantly it is about the vital trade and business links a hub like Heathrow creates for the UK’s economy.”

James Richardson, London Stansted’s Finance Director, said:

"London Stansted’s fantastic range of destinations, and reliable and efficient airport operation continues to drive strong demand as we welcomed 2.7 million passengers to the airport in May.

“The record-breaking numbers were boosted by a very busy half-term week as hundreds of thousands of Brits headed off on holiday as well as huge numbers of overseas visitors choosing the airport as their gateway to London and the East of England.”

Heathrow says it expects to see more than 30 million customers over the summer – a record,

At Stanstead, the top destinations during the month were Dublin, Istanbul and Edinburgh, with the most popular countries being Spain, Italy and Germany.

May also saw the welcome return of British Airways, with new services to Ibiza, Nice and Florence as well as the opening of the airport’s first electric vehicle charging forecourt. A new multi-year partnership with London Stadium was also announced during the month.

Last year saw staffing shortages cause chaos at Heathrow.

Airlines were hit hard during Covid but have since bounced back.