LONDON — Heathrow had its busiest ever month in July, driven by a jump in the volume of cargo and a smaller rise in passenger numbers, but has been criticised as offering “poor” service for disabled travellers.
Trade passing through Heathrow grew at its fastest ever rate, up 15% since last July to 143,000 metric tonnes, while passenger numbers grew 1.2% to 7.53 million, averaging 234,000 passengers every day — or the population of Plymouth.
But it was rated “poor” by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for the quality of assistance it provides for disabled travellers.
The CAA’s report, which monitored how long disabled passengers had to wait for assistance and how satisfied disabled customers were with the assistance provided, prompted an apology from the airport and a promise to address the issues raised.
Increased trade was largely driven by a 16% rise in cargo flights to and from North America, and a 14% rise to and from East Asia — China, Hong Kong and Singapore in particular.
“With more passengers than ever and trade growing at the fastest rate ever recorded, Heathrow is helping Britain show the world our country is open for business,” said Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye.
Europe was the most popular region for passengers to fly to, followed by North America. But the biggest growth region was the Middle East, which saw passenger numbers rise by almost a tenth since last July. New Flybe flights to Scotland also helped push up domestic flights.
This year Heathrow also launched “Little Miss Explorer,” a character in their augmented reality app that takes children on an interactive treasure hunt of the airport.
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