The future of Heathrow

Major hubs: then and now

Over the last decade Heathrow Airport has moved up one place to become the third busiest airport, handling nearly 9 million more passengers in 2011 at 69 million. Over the same period, rival European hubs Paris Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt airports added 13 million and 8 million passengers respectively.

But this largest growth has come at major developing hubs in the Gulf and Asia. Beijing airport has jumped from 24 million passengers in 2001 to 77 million by 2011, becoming the second largest airport by passenger number in the process. Emirates hub Dubai meanwhile has seen a sharp rise in passengers from 13 million ten years ago to 51 million last year.