With under a year to go until the start of Crossrail services through central London, Heathrow Express has said it has no concerns over the launch of the new line.
Speaking to Breaking Travel News in London, Richard Young, sales and distribution manager at Heathrow Express, said the fast train to Heathrow would focus its efforts on the needs of business travellers.
“Passengers continue to vote with their feet and we start 2018 with a 7.5 per cent increase in passenger numbers,” he said.
“This clearly demonstrates the strength of the service as passengers opt for ease, speed and, comfort.
“The service will continue to offer the fastest route between the airport and central London and Heathrow Express will continue to offer an important option which will ensure Heathrow meets its target of doubling the number of passengers travelling to and from the airport by public transport.”
Crossrail – officially known as the Elizabeth Line – is scheduled to begin services from December this year.
The western section, from Paddington to Heathrow Airport and on to Reading, is then slated to begin operating a year later, in December 2019.
The route, which mirrors that of the Heathrow Express, will take around 24 minutes.
The current Heathrow Express service takes 15 minutes.
Perhaps reflecting the emphasis on business travellers, the Heathrow Connect service will be suspended following the launch of Crossrail.
Slightly cheaper than the Express, and with a journey time of around 25 minutes, it currently transports passengers to Heathrow calling at five west London stations between Paddington and the terminals.
“Customers who use Heathrow Express do so because of our customer proposition; speed and reliability,” added Young.
“We offer a premium service and have enough seats available for passengers to be able to sit down and relax, with their bags safely stored in the designated luggage areas.
“We have been built with air travel in mind; Crossrail trains do not have this luxury.”
Ahead of the arrival of its new rival, Heathrow Express’ strategy includes increasing digital marketing in order to sell tickets to customers as early as possible in their journey.
From May 2018, new ticket readers will also be installed at Heathrow, meaning passengers using Heathrow Express between Paddington and Heathrow will be able to use pay as you go Oyster or a contactless device for the first time.