By Jonathan Davies

A record 73.4 million passengers travelled through Heathrow airport in 2014, adding to calls for it to be chosen as the site for a new runway in the London area.

The airport said routes to emerging markets helped passengers numbers to increase by 1.4% on 2013's figures.

Flights to and from Latin American destinations was up 6.3%, East Asia increased by 5.2% and Middle East & Central Asia was up by 3.5%.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive, said: “Vietnam Airlines’ announcement that it is moving its operation from Gatwick to Heathrow is good news for Britain as it secures a direct flight to an important growth economy, with more frequent flights and cargo capacity.

“It also underlines that airlines can only make flights to many long-haul destinations viable from a hub airport like Heathrow.

“Only by expanding Heathrow can we add direct flights to the world’s growing cities, increase our exports and connect all of the UK to global growth. Expanding Heathrow will help Britain win the race for growth.”

Gatwick

Further fuelling the battle between Heathrow and Gatwick, Gatwick also reported record passenger numbers in 2014.

The city's second airport said 38 million passengers travelled through it.

Gatwick said: "Airport expansion should be for the many not the few - our broad range of growth underlines that Gatwick is the obvious solution if we want all passengers and all types of travel to benefit."

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