x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Heathrow passengers make Dubai runner-up

152,000 passengers travelled between Dubai and London Heathrow airport last month, making the UAE destination second only to New York in terms of traffic to and from the UK hub in the world.

Dubai is the second most popular destination at London's Heathrow Airport after New York, says the airports operator BAA.

The airport handled 152,000 passengers travelling between Dubai and London last month, beating Dublin, Edinburgh and Amsterdam for the penultimate spot.

Dubai was the only Middle East destination in the top 10, boosted by multiple daily services from Emirates Airline and British Airways.

Heathrow ranked as the second-largest airport worldwide in terms of passenger traffic last year, with 66 million travellers.

BAA posted a 3.4 per cent increase in total passenger numbers for its six UK airports last month compared with October last year, to 9.75 million, benefiting from a recovery in business travel. Passenger numbers at Heathrow, meanwhile, grew by 7.2 per cent, up 410,000 to 6.1 million.

Fuelling hopes of an economic recovery on the continent, European travel increased 10.6 per cent, The highest gains were recorded by Geneva, which increased 59.9 per cent compared with October last year; Milan, which grew 30.1 per cent; Moscow 27.5 per cent; and Berlin 25.6 per cent. Flights between Heathrow and China and Hong Kong grew by 16.1 per cent to 173,000, while travel to North American destinations from BAA airports increased 7.5 per cent to 1.43 million.

"The continued strength of Heathrow reflects an upturn in global economic activity," said Colin Matthews, the chief executive of BAA.

"However, government spending cuts, a sharp increase in air passenger duty and an imminent value added tax rise are weakening the prospects for in-bound tourism and British leisure travel."