Heathrow had a record-breaking year in 2012. The number of passengers hit almost 70 million – up 0.9% on 2011 – and 5.6 million of them used the airport in December – up two per cent on December 2011.

The load factor, which shows how full the average flight was, also set a new record, at 75.6% against 75.2% in 2011.

The figures, just published by Heathrow, show that the sparkling performance was led by North Atlantic traffic, which increased by 3.2%. Services with Brazil, the Middle East, Central Asia and East Asia were also strong, but were offset by weakness in African and Indian traffic.

Heathrow’s European traffic increased modestly, while the BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) performed well throughout 2012, collectively up 2.4%.

“The figures for 2012 show Heathrow is delivering higher passenger numbers, despite a tough economic climate,” said Chief Executive Colin Matthews. “At the same time, passenger satisfaction reached record levels.”

Selected LHR stats for 2012 v 2011

Brazil up 21.6%
Middle East, Central Asia up 3.4%
East Asia up 6.2%
Europe up 0.5%
Africa down 5.7%
India down 3.4%

To read more, visit Heathrow’s website.