Handling Heathrow – the challenge for capacity

Heathrow CEO Colin Matthews gave a stark warning to the Airports Commission in July. Unless the UK raises its game by increasing capacity at Heathrow or creating another hub airport, it risks dropping out of the premier league of international connectivity all together.

With only six airports in the world with regular, direct connections to over fifty long haul destinations, Heathrow is very much at risk. Four of its main competitors, including Paris and Frankfurt, are within Europe and are planning to extend capacity far beyond the reaches of Heathrow.

“Heathrow’s four European rivals have either committed to, or are developing, plans for enough runway capacity to serve an average of around 700,000 flights a year, nearly 50% more than Heathrow’s current limit of 480,000. “ Heathrow Airport Press Release

Middle Eastern competitors, and those in other developing nations, also continue to threaten and the tough economic conditions have forced airlines to consolidate into fewer and larger carriers and intercontinental hubs.

Heathrow is suffering from a lack of capacity, compared to its competitors, a fact noted by recent analysis by the OECD. The capacity constraints at Heathrow mean London is already “under-performing in long-haul connectivity relative to its local market”. The capacity of Heathrow betrays the population of London, and it needs additional capacity to ensure that it stays a world leader.  However, Colin Matthews is still confident that London is still in a prime position for global aviation, with strong local demand from a large and global city and home to one of the world’s most important network airlines and alliances in the shape of BA and oneworld.

It is indeed a difficult time for the UK’s airports, where only collaboration with other stakeholders and a sophisticated approach to optimising capacity is needed.

AIQ Consulting have worked with Heathrow Airport and many other airport operators worldwide to plan capacity and optimise passenger experience. From finding ingenious holding solutions for FCS to advising on the exact size needed for a international pop up airport within a restricted space, we have the skills and experience needed to analyse, simulate, negotiate and act within the entire spectrum of Airport, Apron, Terminal and Airfield. We continue to work with Heathrow and their stakeholders in order to provide solutions and capacity planning that will ensure that it remains a world leader.

Find out more about our services, contacts us or read more about the challenges facing Heathrow