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Fears of a spending squeeze from rising inflation have yet to affect British travellers, according to the owners of Heathrow Airport, which said it has seen stronger than expected volumes since the start of the year.

Heathrow reported a 4.8 per cent climb in adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in 2016, to £1.7bn, and said it expects to approximately match that figure again this year.

The airport served a record 75.7m passengers during the year, helping revenues to climb by 1.5 per cent to £2.8bn.

In October the government gave its backing for Heathrow to build a third runway, but the process, which has already been marred by more than a decade of delays and indecision, still faces opposition from many residents and politicians.

A highly critical report by MPs on Westminster’s environmental audit committee, published yesterday, accused the government of being over-optimistic in its projections for air quality around the airport after the runway is built.

However, Heathrow once again stressed the importance of the expansion on Friday morning, saying the plan “balances the huge national and local economic gain from expansion with the environmental impacts”.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow chief executive, said:

2016 was a milestone year for Heathrow. I am very proud of what our 76,000 colleagues have acieved. We gave better service at lower cost to a record number of passengers and helped British businesses across the country trade more with the rest of the world.

We have started the planning process for expansion and are preparing the skills and the supply chain we will need to build it sustainably and affordably. Heathrow is delivering for Britain.

Photo: Bloomberg

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