Heathrow is known for being one of the busiest airports in the world, and this record was maintained in 2012.
The airport announced yesterday that 2012 might have been full of doom and gloom for many a business, but for the London-based flight hub, it handled the highest amount of passengers on record.
In 2012, Heathrow handled almost 70 million passengers, an increase of 0.9 percent year-on-year. In addition, December was the most hectic month, with over 5.6 million fliers passing through its doors, up 2 percent from 2011.
According to the announcement, staple North Atlantic traffic propelled the increase in passengers with a growth level of 3.2 percent. New routes in Brazil, the Middle East and central Asia also increased the number of fliers -- up 21.6 and 3.4 percent respectively -- and East Asian traffic was boosted by 6.2 percent due to a level of recovery after 2011's tsunami.
However, Heathrow has also seen a decline in passengers from Africa and India, dropping by 5.7 percent and 3.4 percent respectively.
Heathrow says that it operated close to the cap of 480,000 flights per year, reaching 471,341. The firm also says that "modest growth" can be expected in traffic "as long as it operates within its current capacity constraints." This growth, however, has to be balanced with the drop in cargo across 2012, which slid by 1.3 percent.
The reconstruction of Terminal 2 is due to begin next year, which means that the number of passengers the airport can accommodate will increase -- but the amount of flights cannot, especially due to how close Heathrow is running at full capacity. In the meantime, Heathrow Airports Holdings -- otherwise known as BAA -- will be selling off one of its smaller airports, Stansted.
Chief Executive for Heathrow, Colin Matthews, said:
"The figures for 2012 show Heathrow is delivering higher passenger numbers despite a tough economic climate. At the same time passenger satisfaction reached record levels. Over the next twelve months we will continue to improve the passenger experience and focus on our investment programme, as we move towards completion of the new Terminal 2."
Image credit: Heathrow