The boss of Heathrow airport says businesses must “stand up and support Britain’s economy” amid the enduring uncertainties around Brexit.
Chief executive John Holland-Kaye made the comments as the airport posted record third quarter passenger numbers on Friday (October 26).
In total, 60.5 million passengers have transited through Heathrow in the nine months to September 30, up 2.5% from 59.1 million this time last year.
The airport has also reported retail revenue per passenger up 3.1% from £8.33 to £8.59.
However, while revenue is up 2.3% from £2.161 billion to £2.211 billion and adjusted Ebitda up 1.9% from £1.347 billion to £1.372 billion, pre-tax profits fell 7.4% from £229 million to £212 million.
Heathrow said the fall was due to the amount of capital expenditure excluded from tax relief.
The airport said new long-haul routes, such as its five new services to China launched this year, had increased trade flowing through the airport 1.5% to 1.3 million tonnes.
Meanwhile, Heathrow has raised nearly £1.6 billion in global investment this year, which the airport says “lays the groundwork” for its £14 billion third runway expansion plan and and “builds financial resilience ahead of Brexit”.
“With the outcome of Brexit negotiations unknown, strong businesses like Heathrow must stand up to support Britain’s economy,” said Holland-Kaye.
“We will expand Heathrow to boost Britain’s global trade for decades to come, and we are proud to protect Britain’s SMEs by maintaining our 30-day payment terms for all of our suppliers.
“No matter how small, suppliers should have confidence that they will be paid on-time for their services, and we call on other businesses to follow our lead.”
On Brexit, Heathrow says in its trading update the airport remained in a “strong position” irrespective of the outcome of Brexit.
“Heathrow continues to monitor the progress of the negotiations and is encouraged by the government’s continued commitment to securing a deal with the EU in the coming months,” read the statement.
“While it remains important for the government and Parliament to agree a deal that secures continued liberal access to the European aviation market to facilitate efficient flows of both people and goods into and out of the UK, Heathrow remains in an extremely strong position notwithstanding the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations.”