UK. London Heathrow Airport retail revenue climbed by +0.8% year-on-year in the year ended 31 December 2019, reaching £722 million (US$922 million). Retail revenue per passenger remained flat at £8.93 (2018: £8.94).

Growth was led by retail concessions and food & beverage, reflecting record passenger traffic of 80.9 million. The Pound Sterling weakening against both the Euro and US Dollar also contributed to driving retail concessions income, the airport said.

Other retail revenue declined due to bureaux de change customers favouring alternative methods of pre-booked currency, and a one-off contractual benefit received in 2018 which will not reoccur. Excluding these factors, retail revenue per-passenger would have increased by +1% to £8.93.

The big picture: Heathrow Airport financial performance in 2019 (click to enlarge)

Total group revenue climbed +3.4% to £3,070 million in the year. Adjusted EBITDA increased +4.6% to £1,921 million and profit after tax increased +24% to £413 million.

The revenue performance broken down (above) and retail by channel (below)

Passenger traffic of 80.9 million was up +1.0% marking the ninth consecutive year of record numbers. Intercontinental traffic grew by +2.2%, with growth driven by North America, through increased load factors and frequencies, additional services and new routes such as Pittsburgh and Charleston.

Africa traffic also grew strongly due to additional services to Marrakesh, Seychelles, Durban and Johannesburg. Middle East traffic increased due to larger aircraft and increased load factors. Asia Pacific traffic declined due to Jet ceasing operations early in the year. Short-haul traffic declined by -0.3% driven by a number of European carriers reducing services. Domestic traffic grew +0.9% with new routes to Newquay, Guernsey and Isle of Man.

Heathrow Airport said that retail concessions income performed well but that foreign exchange and car parking were a drag on growth

Heathrow Airport has said its case for expansion is strengthened by data that points to Paris Charles de Gaulle overtaking it within two years at current growth rates. The company noted: “As capacity constraints continue to strangle the UK’s biggest port by value, trade and tourism volumes are being handed on a plate to European competitors.”

CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “Within two years, Charles de Gaulle will overtake Heathrow as the biggest airport in Europe. Heathrow’s new runway is ready to turn ‘global Britain’ into more than just a campaign slogan. It’s the key to the UK’s success after Brexit and will ensure we stay ahead of our European rivals. Expansion will be built within legally-binding environmental targets, creating lower airfares for passengers, connecting every corner of Britain to global growth and all at no cost to the taxpayer. It’s time to get on with it.”