Dubai tops Heathrow holiday destinations as passengers return

February saw the biggest single day in Terminal 5 since Christmas 2019

Passengers queuing to go through security at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5. PA
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Dubai was the top holiday destination during half-term for passengers flying from Heathrow, data from the UK's biggest airport shows.

A total of 5.2 million passengers travelled through the airport in February.

The month saw the biggest single day in Terminal 5 since Christmas 2019, with more than 94,000 travellers passing through on February 26.

Dubai topped the destination list, followed by New York and Madrid.

A spokeswoman for Heathrow said passenger traffic between the hub and Dubai was 5 per cent larger in February compared to the same month in 2019.

Traffic between Abu Dhabi and Heathrow was 86 per cent recovered in the same period, similar to New York's John F Kennedy International Airport, which was 90 per cent recovered.

“The February half-term went very smoothly, thanks to a great plan and teamwork across the airport”, said Heathrow's chief executive John Holland-Kaye.

“This should give everyone confidence that we are prepared for a successful Easter getaway.”

Earlier this month, Heathrow Airport was told it must lower the passenger fees that it charges airlines using the UK hub.

The Civil Aviation Authority announced that Heathrow, Europe's busiest hub, could charge an average maximum price per passenger of £27.49 ($32.51) over the 2022-2026 period.

Last month, the airport operator reported an underlying pre-tax loss of £684 million for last year, against a loss of £1.3 billion in 2021, even though it said it saw the largest increase in passengers of any European airport last year.

Heathrow is the world’s second busiest hub, behind Dubai International Airport.

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Updated: March 13, 2023, 11:15 AM