A “thumping” Easter getaway helped Heathrow achieve its best April on record with overall growth so far this year exceeding expectations.

The London hub handled more than six million passengers last month, up by 11% on April 2016.

Traffic to the Middle East climbed by 22% on the back of more Airbus A380 superjumbos being deployed and new services such as Tehran.

Transatlantic traffic to North America rose 10% on higher load factors.

“The scale of the opportunity across the globe is tremendous”

New York and Dubai were the most popular international destinations in April, with the routes attracting almost 500,000 travellers.

Passengers also endorsed the added choice on Scottish routes, with Flybe’s new services to Aberdeen and Edinburgh boosting domestic volumes by 19,000 in April, according to the airport.

Heathrow chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said: “Heathrow had a bumper April – growth in 2017 has been faster than most expected, reinforcing the need for more capacity at the nation’s hub.

“Britain’s exports outside the EU are thriving and with Heathrow expansion opening up to 40 new long-haul trading links, the scale of the opportunity across the globe is tremendous.

“We’re working around-the-clock to deliver Britain’s new runway and secure the country’s future as a global trading powerhouse.”