London Heathrow Capacity Overload Costing UK Economy

Lack of capacity at London Heathrow Airport is affecting the UK economy, according to a recent study commissioned by the airport owner, BAA Ltd.

The report, prepared by Frontier Economics, says that the lack of capacity is currently costing the country up to £14bn a year in lost trade, and the loss may increase to £26bn a year by 2030.

The report said, ‘Heathrow welcomes the growth of point-to-point and regional airports. But the expansion of point-to-point airports is not going to solve the UK’s connectivity problem. As the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow serves 75 destinations that are not supported by any other UK airport. Only a hub airport can provide the range and frequency of long-haul direct services that UK air passengers want.’

London Heathrow currently operates at 99 percent capacity, with no extra capacity for new trade routes to new economies, affecting the growth of the UK’s economy. There are around 1,532 more flights to cities in mainland China from Paris and Frankfurt airports than from London Heathrow. Moreover, there are several growing cities in Asia that are still not served by direct flights from the UK, but are served by other European hubs.

Colin Matthews, the chief executive officer for BAA, said, ‘If anyone was still in doubt about the importance of aviation to the UK economy, today’s report should lay those doubts to rest. We’re already losing out on up to £14bn of trade a year – and that could almost double by 2030.

The new work we are publishing today shows that only a single hub airport can meet the UK’s connectivity needs, and the choice is therefore between adding capacity at Heathrow or closing Heathrow and replacing it with a new UK hub airport.’