'Full' Heathrow hikes earnings in busiest year ever

'Full' Heathrow hikes earnings in busiest year ever

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Heathrow achieved a 10.3% hike in earnings [EBITA] to £1.57 billion for 2014 as it recorded its busiest year ever.

The London hub handled 73.4 million passengers, a rise of 1.4% over 2013, but there was no real growth in the number of flights.

Heathrow claimed the highest passenger satisfaction of all European hub airports in 2014.

But it warned: “With Heathrow full, Britain is falling behind in direct flights to growth markets - that's why calls for Heathrow expansion are growing from all parts of the UK.”

The airport reported a pre-tax loss of £119 million against a profit of £202 million a year earlier after completing an £11 million, 10-year transformation scheme including the opening of the new Terminal 2.

Revenue in 2015 is expected to grow 1.3% to £2.73 billion based on an assumed traffic increase of 0.7% to 73.9 million passengers, an aeronautical tariff increase of 1% and by continued growth of non-aeronautical revenue.

Heathrow said it was “moving into a more modest investment period, generating cash after capital investment and interest for the first time in over a decade”.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: "Heathrow performed very well in 2014, with record levels of passenger service and numbers of passengers served.

“The successful opening of Terminal 2 means the nation now has a world class front door and passengers rate us the best hub airport in Europe.

“But with Heathrow full, Britain is falling behind European rivals in the race for growth.

“An expanded hub airport is best for Britain and backed by Britain. We have made Heathrow better - now it is time to make it bigger, and connect all of Britain to global growth."

Long haul demand grew in most regions with intercontinental traffic up 1.9%. North America benefited from new destinations and increased frequencies on existing routes, resulting in a rise of 1.7%, the airprpt reported.

Traffic on routes serving the Middle East grew by 3.4% reflecting increased flights and higher load factors.

Traffic to and from Asia Pacific destinations grew by 1.5%, supported by increased frequencies on existing Asian routes.

Latin American traffic grew 6.3% following the introduction of a new route to Colombia, increased flights to Mexico and growth in Brazil.

At the close of the Commission's national consultation,

Heathrow claimed “wide-ranging support” from across Britain for its expansion plans as the Airports Commission completed its national consultation into runway capacity in the south-east.

This included 32 chambers of commerce representing every UK region, together with the Unite and GMB unions, leading businesses and local residents.

The commission’s final report is expected this summer following the general election.

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