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Heathrow soars to first profit in four years

STORY: Britain's Heathrow Airport soared to a profit last year for the first time since the global health crisis.

On Wednesday, Europe's busiest hub reported pretax profit of $47.91 million.

That was well up from a loss of $863.7 million a year before.

Heathrow said the popularity of transatlantic travel, particularly to New York pushed passenger numbers to 79.2 million.

Overall, passenger numbers were close to pre-health crisis levels.

The airport also expects to add another 2 million travelers this year.

Surging demand will boost the airport's finances.

But it also faces a 20% cut in real terms to its charges this year under new prices set by regulators.

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The return to profit also comes as a number of Heathrow's current shareholders try to sell their stakes in the airport.

Last year, Spain's Ferrovial agreed to sell its 25% holding in Heathrow for $3 billion to Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and Ardian.