UK Airports May Lose Out To Foreign Airports Due To Capacity Constraints

The Board of Airline Representatives (BAR UK), a UK-based industry association of UK airline operators, has said that Heathrow Airport in London is operating under capacity constraints, which may cause global airlines to forgo fights to the UK.

A survey conducted by the association has revealed that around 53 percent of airlines surveyed will be increasing their services to other countries, instead of the UK, due to capacity constraints at UK airports. However, 86 percent of the airlines are interested in increasing their services to the UK, if Heathrow Airport was able to offer them more free slots.

The survey by Frontier Economics, supporting recent research, has found that around twenty-one emerging market destinations do not have a daily flight from Heathrow, but are connected with other European airline hubs.

This may have a direct effect on UK foreign trade, as around 20 times more trade is carried out with emerging market nations that have a direct daily flight to the UK than with those nations not having a direct flight. It is estimated that he UK economy may lose around £14bn in the next decade because of lack of trade with these emerging markets.

Mike Carrivick, the association chief executive officer, said, ‘UK business leaders should be very concerned about the restrictions on reaching new markets at such a critical time in the UK recovery effort. The survey’s results are a chilling reminder that the Government must act decisively, and soon, in the national interest. Restricting capacity at key airports to the same level as the last decade is actively encouraging airlines and trade to go elsewhere.’