Increased long haul traffic more than offset a drop in domestic services from Heathrow as the London hub handled a record 6.9 million passengers in July.
Overall passenger numbers using the airport were up by 2.5% over the same month last year despite a 13.3% drop in domestic traffic as airlines cut seat capacity by 16%.
Heathrow-operator BAA reported increases in North Atlantic, long-haul and European scheduled traffic “more than compensated” for a fall in domestic passengers in the year to July, giving it record passenger numbers over the past 12 months.
The strongest growth was in passenger traffic to and from Brazil which rose 80% year on year in July. North Atlantic traffic was up 5.3%, other long-haul traffic up 3.2% and European scheduled passenger numbers up 3.1%.
The total number of passengers at Heathrow over the last 12 months exceeded 68.5 million for the first time.
BAA’s six airports handled 11 million passengers in July, an increase of 0.8% year on year.
Stansted handled 1.9 million passengers in the month, a drop of 7.2%, while Southampton returned to growth with a 2.4% increase to 192,000 over July 2010.
BAA’s three Scottish airports recorded increases in July, with Edinburgh up by 3.3% to almost one million passengers. Glasgow was up by 0.5% overall, due largely to a 45.7% increase in traffic on European scheduled services. Aberdeen saw growth in domestic traffic and even faster growth in international traffic, which helped it to reach an overall increase of 8.7%.
The strongest performing market overall for BAA was to and from North America, with passenger numbers up 5.6% on last July.
Other long-haul routes recorded a collective increase of 3.9% and European scheduled services rose by 0.9%. There was a 7.2% drop in domestic traffic.
Heathrow saw its busiest day on record on July 31 – the start of the main school summer holidays – and seven of Heathrow’s top ten days for passenger numbers were recorded during the month.
BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: “The growth in passenger traffic at Heathrow is good news for UK jobs, tourism and growth.”
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