Almost 5.9 million domestic and international passengers landed at London’s Heathrow Airport in January, representing a 2.1% increase on last year.

January was also Heathrow Airport’s 27th consecutive record month backed by travellers returning home after the winter holidays.

According to data released by the airport, Africa and East Asia contributed an increase of 9.7% and 5.6%, respectively, in terms of passenger traffic.

Morocco (40%), Ethiopia (27%), Nigeria (13%) and South Africa (12%) were the main African countries that contributed to the airport’s growth.

China witnessed a growth of 27% due to the sustained interest in new services to the country.

“2019 is off to a stellar start, with more passengers choosing to use Heathrow because of our improved service and lower costs.”

More than 130,000 metric tonnes of cargo were transported through Heathrow to their destinations during January.

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Africa was the best performing market for cargo with 8.9% growth, followed by Latin America with 8.8% backed by an increase in movements to Brazil.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “2019 is off to a stellar start, with more passengers choosing to use Heathrow because of our improved service and lower costs.”

ACI data points out that Heathrow remains Europe’s busiest airport, despite current capacity constraints at the airport.

Heathrow also launched its eight-week long consultation on Airspace & Future Operations seeking public view on the airport’s future airspace design for both the existing two-runway airport and as part of the proposed expansion.

In January, Heathrow launched a Shared Apprentice Scheme in construction to ensure 10,000 high quality apprenticeships are provided by 2030.

To boost its capacity, the airport in collaboration with NATS launched a trial to understand whether artificial intelligence could be used to help regain the landing capacity lost during times of low cloud or decreased visibility.