Heathrow is the only UK airport where airlines are feeling a capacity squeeze but there is no guarantee that they will fly from any other UK airport.
A poll of 51 members of the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK found that almost three quarters (38 airlines) have not suffered capacity problems at any UK airport other than Heathrow while 23% (12 airlines) have not sought capacity at other airports.
Half 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 22 airlines say they are most likely to operate additional flights to another international hub or destination, rather than to another UK airport, while Heathrow remains full.
The results form BAR UK’s submission to the Airports Commission on making best use of airport capacity in the short to medium term.
Chief executive Dale Keller 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.”
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