‘The only way is Heathrow’ say airlines

The association which represents all the major airlines flying to the UK, the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, has said that foreign airlines would often rather fly to Paris, Frankfurt & Amsterdam than Gatwick or Stansted.

heathrow t5 at duskSpeaking to the Davies Commission on airport capacity, Dale Keller, the chief executive of BAR UK, suggested that many foreign airlines were desperate to fly purely to Heathrow, not the UK in general, and that if that wasn’t possible (Heathrow operates at 99% capacity already) they would rather fly to other European destinations than to the likes of Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester or Birmingham.

The implications are two-fold….first that the UK is missing out on air passenger traffic because Heathrow is already full and second, that even if the UK were to build additional runway capacity at Gatwick & Stansted, there is no guarantee that it would lead to an increase in traffic. Indeed, the fact that every airport in the UK already has spare capacity, even though Heathrow has been full for years, would seem to back this up.

Of course some foreign airlines that fly to Heathrow also successfully operate to other, regional UK airports. The best example of this is Emirates who, despite operating up to 5 A380s between Dubai & Heathrow every day of the week, also operate daily flights between Dubai and  Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle & Glasgow.

The bridge at Gatwick Airport North Terminal

London Gatwick

At the same time, in the last 12 months Gatwick has successfully attracted a number of airlines who probably wanted to fly into Heathrow but weren’t able to secure the necessary slots; airlines such as Korean Airlines, Vietnam Airlines & Garuda of Indonesia.Despite a widespread agreement that decisions on Britain’s future airport capacity have to made sooner rather than later, the Davies Commission will not publish its final recommendations until 2015.



Join the discussion