In its submission to the Airports Commission on making best use of airport capacity in the short to medium term, the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR UK) says that airlines are only experiencing capacity problems at Heathrow.
In a survey completed by 51 members, 74.51% (38 airlines) have not experienced capacity problems at any UK airport other than Heathrow while 23.53% (12 airlines) have not sought capacity at other airports. Over half the airlines (51.02%, 25 airlines) have certainly, or probably, diverted flights or capacity to other countries or destinations, rather than to other UK airports in the past two years, because of Heathrow’s slot constraints. A further 47.83% (22 airlines) state that they are most likely to operate additional flights to another international hub or destination, rather than to another UK airport, whilst Heathrow remains full.
Dale Keller, chief executive, said “Our survey confirms what we have been saying all along, that it cannot be assumed that additional flights will be operated from other UK airports where space is not available at the Heathrow hub. It is hard to see how the Airports Commission can solve anything in the short to medium term when the reality is, that airlines are already free to grow at other UK airports whenever sufficient consumer demand exists to make each route commercially viable. What seems to be missing in this debate is that an airport is an unmoveable asset and it is the airlines and their route networks that bring the tarmac and terminals to life and create a hub. Airlines are choosing to fly to hub airports and that is where the UK must take action for the sake of the entire UK economy.”