The airport said 6 million passengers passed through its doors last month
Heathrow Airport’s passenger numbers in January were just slightly below those before the coronavirus hit.
The airport recorded 6 million passengers last month, which is almost at the 6.1 million number of people who passed through its doors in January 2020. Tons of cargo handled by the airport rose from 116,000 to 122,000 tonnes over the same period.
The airport claimed exporters are “thriving” but the UK has “shut the door on home-grown growth” by “turning away international shoppers through the tourist tax”. In 2020 then-chancellor Rishi Sunak put an end to a scheme that allowed tourists to get back the 20% VAT rate on items bought in the UK.
Now, Heathrow, along with business groups the British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, want a tax-free shopping incentive brought back for next month’s spring Budget. Heathrow Airport’s passenger numbers grew by 29% last year to reach 79.2 million. The west London airport said it recorded its busiest ever December, with 6.7 million passengers.
Across the year as a whole, the market with the biggest increase in passenger numbers was Asia/Pacific, up 76% compared with 2022. This was driven by a lifting of coronavirus travel restrictions in the region.