Will growth wait for the airport debate?

A few weeks ago Colin Matthews, the Chief Executive of Heathrow, wrote in the Telegraph about how the airport, and the UK’s export trade, is missing out on connections to growth regions while the debate about airport expansion rumbles on.

“To meet its potential, Britain needs to be connected with the regions where growth is surging ahead – and that means emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and North America…. Instead, Heathrow has been full for a decade and those routes are being handed to our hub rivals in Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Previous analysis shows our economy is missing out on £14bn a year in lost trade as a result, a figure that’s set to rise to £26bn by 2030.”

He argues that debate is centred around a ‘false choice’ – Heathrow or Gatwick, where in fact both airports have different roles within the UK’s aviation industry. The UK needs extra hub capacity, provided by Heathrow, in order to compete in future international markets.

Although the Airports Commission has stated that there is spare point-to-point capacity until 2040, Matthews reasons that this is a different market. Providing mostly short-haul and leisure flights, airports like London City and Stanstead are not able to cope with transfer or trade demand.

The long haul flights that Heathrow provides are important for Britain’s economic growth, especially so for the global movement of goods – 64% of all UK air freight flies out of Heathrow, 60 times more than Gatwick. Therefore it is important that Heathrow has the ability to grow and realise demand from International business.

However, we are already feeling the effects of a full-to-capacity Heathrow – Dubai recently announced that for the first time it has overtaken Heathrow as the world’s number one airport for international passengers in a two-month period, as business is taken elsewhere.

AiQ are at the forefront of making Heathrow’s capacity work for them – we have recently announced several projects at the airport. As Heathrow’s Airside Operations Seasonal Planners, we will work with the airport to simulate Apron and Passenger Traffic activity for the whole of Heathrow. This is in addition to other contracts including Terminal 2 MUP Planning, Heathrow Terminal 2 Makeup Trails and Terminal 3 Traffic Management.

We provide intelligent airport consultancy, for capacity planning and operational efficiency. Our analysis and simulation allows Heathrow to realise unseen capacity and make the most of their operations. It also assists them with long term planning, deciding on the suitability of further investments and creating buy in with key stakeholders.

To find out more about how we can work with your airport to provide these services, contact us today

Read the full Telegraph article here