Christmas and New Year festivities raised passenger numbers to a record at Heathrow, with more than 6.6 million travelling through Heathrow in December – bringing the total number of passengers up to 79 million in 2023.

Averaging at around 216,000 daily passengers last month, the airport’s busiest day over the festive period was Friday 22 December with almost 250,000 passing through the airport.

Forward planning and collaboration with airport partners ensured that 142,000 passengers travelling on the 25 December had smooth journeys, with nearly 800 flights arriving and departing on the busiest Christmas day ever.

Transatlantic travel remained a key driver for passenger numbers with 1.6 million travelling to and from North America in December, as New York (JFK) clinched the top spot as our most popular destination last year with over three million passengers in total.

2023 was Terminal 5’s busiest year ever, surpassing 33 million passengers for the second time since opening 15 years ago and serving 2.6 million passengers in December alone.

The gift-giving season saw Heathrow process 133,277 tonnes of cargo in December, culminating in a total of over 1.43 million tonnes processed in 2023 – this represents more than 2% growth compared with 2022, with traders and forwarders taking advantage of our growing long-haul network to fly their goods around the world.

Heathrow 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.”Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter