London-Heathrow and the three UK airports owned by the MAG group all saw bumper cargo volumes in 2017.
Heathrow became one of the fastest growing major European hubs for cargo in 2017, handling 1.7m tonnes – a full year increase of 10.2% over 2016 - with key markets the US, East Asia, and Europe.
By comparison, Belgium's Liege and Brussels airports saw increases of 8.5% and 8.3% respectively in 2017 while Amsterdam Schiphol, one place above Heathrow in the 'league table' of European cargo hubs, recorded an estimated increase of 5.4% last year.
Over 143,000 tonnes were processed through the London hub in December 2017, a 7.3% increase in volumes versus same month prior year.
A Heathrow airport spokesperson said: “The UK economy benefited from the end-of-year peak around the world. The US, Japan and Hong Kong were among the fastest growing markets for cargo.”
A “record-breaking” 78m passengers travelled through Heathrow in 2017, up 3.1% on last year with passenger volumes driven by “larger and fuller” aircraft.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Heathrow had its best year ever in 2017 helping to strengthen the British economy as the country seeks to redefine its role in the world.
“Our colleagues welcomed 78m passengers and supported the delivery of record volumes of British trade to markets around the world. We’re looking forward to continuing to deliver for Britain in 2018 as we progress our expansion plans.”
Meanwhile Manchester Airport celebrated a “bumper year”, recording 123,576 freight tonnes in 2017, a 9% increase on full year 2016.
Andrew Cowan, chief executive of Manchester Airport, said: “It’s been another strong year for Manchester Airport as passenger numbers continued to grow and we celebrated the launch of a number of key routes.”
London Stansted Airport, part of the MAG Group that also owns Manchester airport, saw cargo volumes during the year up 4.2% on the 2016 total with over 263,000 tonnes of goods and products in 2017.
MAG’s third airport, East Midlands, the UK’s largest gateway for pure cargo, grew 8.6% in 2017 to handle 353,017 tonnes.