Both Heathrow and Stansted Airport have reported record figures for 2017 as tourism to the UK continued to soar.
Heathrow Airport saw passenger numbers rise by 3.1% last year, driven by the introduction of larger and fuller aircraft.
A strong December played a key role in the growth, as over 6.3 million passengers travelled through the airport (+2.8%) in the run up to Christmas.
The hub also became one of the fastest growing European airports for cargo, with 1.7 million metric tonnes travelling through the airport.
This is the equivalent to the weight of 134,000 London buses or 136 London Shards. Across the year, the key markets for cargo were the US, East Asia, and Europe.
Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “Heathrow had its best year ever in 2017 helping to strengthen the British economy as the country seeks to redefine its role in the world.
“Our colleagues welcomed 78 million passengers and supported the delivery of record volumes of British trade to markets around the world.
“We’re looking forward to continuing to deliver for Britain in 2018 as we progress our expansion plans.”
London Stansted Airport also recorded its busiest ever year as it welcomed 25.9 million passengers in 2017, an increase of 1.57 million passengers and 6.5% over the previous 12 months.
The record-breaking performance was achieved with the addition of 11 new routes across the year with Stansted now serving over 190 destinations across 38 countries, and more scheduled connections to Europe than any other airport in the world apart from Munich.
The year also ended on a high with the announcement that leading international airline Emirates will open a new direct service to Dubai in June 2018, and onward access to a wide range of destinations right across the world, including Shanghai, Sydney, and Hong Kong.
Stansted Airport CEO, Ken O’Toole, said: “The last year has been a very busy and exciting time at London Stansted with passenger numbers and the range of destinations directly available from the airport both reaching all-time highs.
“The positive passenger growth was driven by increased choice from many of our airline partners, particularly Ryanair who experienced another strong year, and the very successful opening of Jet2.com’s first base in the south of England back in March.
“In 2018, our aim is to continue growing our passenger numbers and provide even more choice, so we were absolutely delighted to announce just before Christmas that Emirates will begin operating a new service to Dubai from Stansted in June.
"This excellent addition to our route network comes on top of the very exciting news that Primera Air will also launch direct flights to New York, Boston and Toronto from April and May this year.
“These great successes are just the start, not the end, of our long-haul ambitions with more routes to the USA and new services to China and India key targets for us.
“As we are now serving more passengers than at any time in the airport’s history, it’s imperative that we plan how we can keep pace with demand and invest in developing quality, good value facilities to ensure we do all we can to enhance the passenger experience."
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement