Heathrow had its busiest departures day ever as part of the early Easter and half-term holidays with more than 136,000 passengers travelling on March 30.

The London hub saw passenger numbers rise by 5.5% in the month to 6.5 million – its 17th consecutive record month.

Longhaul, emerging destinations were some of the best performers, with double-digit growth to Africa (12%), the Middle East (11%) and Latin America (7.3%).

New routes launched by Hainan Airlines and Tianjin Airlines provided the UK’s first direct connections to the growing cities of Changsha and X’ian.

Qantas also began its first direct service to Perth from Heathrow.

The Transport Select Committee announced the backing of a new north-west runway at Heathrow, believing this remains the right answer for the UK and laying the groundwork for the parliamentary vote in the summer

Heathrow expansion reached another significant milestone with the close of one of the UK’s largest ever public consultations

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “The booming growth in passenger numbers and cargo, particularly from emerging markets, underpins the urgency to secure Britain’s economic future with a third runway at Heathrow – which has now been backed by the cross-party Transport Select Committee.

“We are delighted that passengers have rated us one of the top ten airports worldwide, recognising the huge improvements in service we have made over the last few years.”