Heathrow welcomed 6.69 million passengers last month- a record for December – bringing its total traffic for 2023 to just over 79 million.

The annual figure is third only to 2018 (80.1 million) and 2019 (80.9 million), and is up some 17.5 million on the annual traffic for 2022.

The airport’s T5 also recorded its busiest year since the terminal opened in 2008, surpassing 33 million passengers including 2.6 million in December.

Friday 22 December was the busiest day over the festive period, with around 250,000 customers travelling through Heathrow, and Christmas Day was also the airport’s busiest ever, with nearly 800 flights arriving and departing.

A total of 24 routes recorded more than one million passengers last year, with New York JFK topping the list with more than three million.

The others (in descending order) were: Dubai (DXB), Qatar (DOH), Dublin (DUB), Los Angeles (LAX), Madrid (MAD), Amsterdam (AMS), Frankfurt (FRA), Delhi (DEL), Istanbul (IST), Munich (MUC), Hong Kong (HKG), Toronto (YYZ), Singapore (SIN), Zurich (ZRH), Mumbai (BOM), Chicago (ORD), California (SFO), Paris (CDG), New Jersey (EWR), Edinburgh (EDI), Lisbon (LIS), Boston (BOS) and Geneva (GVA).

December was the second month in 2023 were traffic figures surpassed pre-pandemic 2019 levels, following September when the airport welcomed 7,075,530 passengers.

Heathrow reports record passenger figures for September

Commenting on the traffic figures, Heathrow’s recently appointed CEO Thomas Woldbye, said:

“As we move into the new year, I want to extend my sincere thanks to all our Team Heathrow colleagues and partners for their hard and successful work over the busy festive period, which went really well in terms of service and operations.

“By ending 2023 on a high, a strong foundation is laid for 2024 during which Heathrow will continue to grow and to facilitate the UK’s potential for global growth.”

Last month Heathrow announced a six-year project to build a new dedicated baggage system at its Terminal 2, which will replace the 30-year-old system housed within the airport’s T1 (which closed to passengers in 2015).

Heathrow unveils plans for new baggage system at Terminal 2