Heathrow's November passenger numbers boosted by holidays

Posted on 12 December, 2023 by Advance 

Heathrow welcomed 6.1 million passengers during November, as it helped reunite friends and family to spend holiday festivities such as Diwali and Thanksgiving together.

Image courtesy Heathrow

Traffic to North America peaked ahead of Thanksgiving with over 50,000 passengers flying across the Atlantic from Heathrow on the Friday before the holiday.

Similarly, departures to India proved popular as passengers took advantage of the 15 daily flights to India that Heathrow serves to celebrate Diwali with their loved ones.

While around 220 flights depart or arrive from the USA to Heathrow every day, one particular flight in November made history. On 28th November, the first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) powered transatlantic flight departed Heathrow to New York, a pioneering moment for the UK aviation industry, which has its sights firmly set on achieving net zero by 2050.

Toronto, Singapore and Chicago all joined the ‘millionaire’ club in November with over a million passengers travelling on those routes so far in 2023. Lisbon, San Francisco and Edinburgh are all in the running to achieve this same milestone, an accolade set to be reached by over 20 routes operating at Heathrow by the end of the year.

A strong December is forecast with departure numbers predicted to peak in the week before Christmas Day. Heathrow is adding festive cheer with 47 Christmas trees adorning the terminals, local choirs carolling and a festive ballet performance welcoming arriving passengers.

Heathrow CEO Thomas Woldbye said: "For so many, holidays and cultural festivities are all about spending quality time with friends and family.

"Last month saw passengers travelling to celebrate Thanksgiving and Diwali with their loved ones and we are making final preparations for the Christmas getaway.

"We need to protect these benefits of aviation in a world without carbon, which the history making 100% SAF transatlantic flight proved is possible.

"Now we need collaboration between Industry and Government who both have critical deliveries, to scale up SAF production to make 100% SAF flights an everyday reality."