Heathrow claims “larger, fuller, quieter” planes – but load factor still just 70 – 76%

Heathrow says it had its busiest ever January with 5.45 million passengers travelling through the airport’s terminals. But the figures mask a decline in the number of flight movements and planes are still flying on average one third empty. There were about 37,130 air transport movements (commercial flights) using Heathrow in January, compared to 4 earlier years when there were over 39,000 flights. The reason why Heathrow can increase its number of passengers, with fewer flights is having more passengers per flight.  Heathrow’s own figures show a lower number of flights at the airport contrasts with its claims that lack of hub capacity is “a ticking time bomb”.  While the central premise of the airport’s drive for expansion has been its claim that it is 98% full, aircraft movements actually fell by 0.8% last month compared to January 2014. Details of Passengers by Market show growth in numbers of passengers to and from emerging economies. However, overall the load factor (the % of the seats in the plane are used) are far lower at Heathrow than many other UK airports, with 70.1% in January. Over recent months, the load factor was 71.3% in November, and about 76% in October and December 2014.  It was 76.4% for the full year 2013 and 75% in 2012.  Heathrow will say, if there is a fall in numbers, that this means it is losing ground to other hubs, and if they rise, it reinforces their case for new hub capacity.
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“Larger, fuller, quieter planes” gave Heathrow a record January … but 30% of seats remain empty (in some months)

15.2.2015 ?

(Colnbrook Views)

Heathrow says it had its busiest ever January with 5.45 million passengers travelling through the airport’s terminals. But the figures mask a decline in the number of flight movements and planes are still flying on average one third empty.

Heathrow's own figures show stagnant growth at the airport in contrast to claims that lack of hub capacity is "a ticking time bomb".

Heathrow has reported an increase of 1.3% in passenger numbers for January 2015 compared to January 2014 but the results present a mixed picture for the airport.

While the central premise of the airport’s drive for expansion has been its claim that it is 98% full, aircraft movements actually fell by 0.8% last month compared to January 2014.  And six of the last twelve months have seen fewer flights than the same month the year before.  Heathrow began publishing monthly figures in October 2012. [No.  Heathrow started to publish figures at least from 2005. See details below].

August was, unsurprisingly, the busiest month ever with 7.05 million passengers passing through terminals, a fraction more than the year before.  The impact of the airport’s huge new Terminal 2 which opened in June appears to have been negligible.

There was also information in the figures published last week that continues to contradict claims that the UK is held back by the lack of flights to emerging markets – the so-called BRIC countries.

While the number of passengers travelling to African and Asia/Pacific countries fell there was a 14% increase in passengers to Latin America.  Mexico saw an increase of 17.9% and Brazil 4.7%. The Middle East & Central Asia also saw growth of 4.9% and passenger volumes to China grew 2.0%.

But well over a third of Heathrow traffic remained destined for short haul flights to Europe while a quarter of passengers took flights to North America – which saw a 3% jump in numbers.

Utilisation was 70.1% in January and average passengers per flight remains low.

Heathrow said that “larger, fuller, quieter aircraft at Heathrow continued to be a driver for passenger growth”.  Seats per aircraft increased 2% to 209 in January, while passengers per aircraft rose 2.2% to 147.7.  However, that remains down from 171 as recently as August and the average load factor remains stubbornly low at just 70.7% according to the airport.

One thing is for certain of course: whatever the figures say Heathrow will present them with its usual spin: a fall in numbers will reveal lost ground to other hubs while an increase will reinforce the case for new hub capacity.

http://www.colnbrook.info/larger-fuller-quieter-planes-gave-heathrow-a-record-january-but-30-of-seats-remain-empty/


In 2012, the average load factor achieved by airlines at Heathrow was around 75 per cent, up from the 67 per cent seen in 1990, as shown in Figure C.6 below

Heathrow load factors

http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/78/HAL%20CAP%201133%20Appendix%20C%20-The%20business%20of%20Heathrow%20Airport%20Limited%20(Non%20Con).pdf

 


 

There is a lot of Heathrow data here:

 


Recent load factors for Heathrow:

 

All of 2013

Seats per aircraft increased 2.8% on 2012 and the average load factor was 76.4%, up 1 percentage point. Passengers per aircraft rose 3.7% to 154.8.  – BRIC passengers were up 6.9% over the year, with China up 18.9%, and India up 8.7%.

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Feb 2013

Heathrow said its load factor – a measure of how full flights were – rose 2.4% points to 69.6%.

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(June, July, August, September 2014 – no load factor given in the Heathrow traffic and business commentary).

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Oct 2014
Passenger growth continued to be driven by larger, fuller, quieter aircraft at Heathrow. Seats per aircraft increased 0.7% to 204.9, while load factors increased 0.1 percentage points to 76.1%. Passengers per aircraft rose 0.9% to 156.0
http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Corporate-operational-24/4339

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Nov 2014
Passenger growth continued to be driven by larger, fuller, quieter aircraft at Heathrow. Seats per aircraft increased 1.0% to 204.3, while load factors increased 1.1 percentage points to 71.3%. Passengers per aircraft rose 2.6% to 145.7
http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Corporate-operational-24/4351
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Dec 2014
Larger, quieter aircraft continued to contribute to passenger growth at Heathrow. Seats per aircraft increased 0.6% to 208.4, while load factors remained strong at 76.6%. Passengers per aircraft rose 0.4% to 159.6 – http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Corporate-operational-24/4359
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Jan 2015

while load factors increased 0.2 percentage points to 70.7%. Passengers per aircraft rose 2.2% to 147.7.  Within emerging markets, passenger volumes were particularly strong to Latin America – with Mexico increasing 17.9% and Brazil 4.7%. The Middle East & Central Asia also saw growth of 4.9% and passenger volumes to China grew 2.0%

http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Corporate-operational-24/4386

 

 

 

 

Data from Heathrow statistics at

http://www.heathrowairport.com/about-us/investor-centre/results-and-performance/traffic-statistics

Month and year  Totall Passengers Air Transport Movements – Passenger and Cargo Cargo Volume (Metric Tonnes)
January 2005 – January 2015 January 2005 – January 2015
Month Heathrow Heathrow Heathrow
January 2005 5,141,123 39,139 98,781
February 2005 4,753,591 35,723 99,555
March 2005 5,708,627 39,634 109,388
April 2005 5,573,022 39,096 108,058
May 2005 5,636,621 40,432 110,613
June 2005 6,000,208 39,640 109,861
July 2005 6,456,943 41,049 110,844
August 2005 6,120,139 40,260 103,194
September 2005 6,042,020 39,928 109,000
October 2005 5,713,074 40,597 124,648
November 2005 5,208,222 38,468 111,801
December 2005 5,332,860 38,020 110,233
January 2006 5,112,718 39,431 101,573
February 2006 4,734,688 36,109 100,281
March 2006 5,491,143 39,924 115,062
April 2006 5,811,931 38,705 102,026
May 2006 5,716,741 40,617 105,445
June 2006 6,122,230 39,801 107,263
July 2006 6,533,091 40,996 107,589
August 2006 5,987,755 39,611 101,564
September 2006 5,896,743 39,781 106,925
October 2006 5,630,492 40,429 111,120
November 2006 5,099,094 38,556 109,453
December 2006 5,206,233 36,826 96,112
January 2007 5,013,163 39,136 95,644
February 2007 4,641,466 36,063 98,403
March 2007 5,646,977 40,181 112,257
April 2007 5,667,573 39,219 104,441
May 2007 5,610,629 40,621 111,613
June 2007 6,014,542 39,959 111,857
July 2007 6,419,432 41,065 111,874
August 2007 6,378,156 41,525 109,516
September 2007 6,022,156 40,108 114,624
October 2007 5,844,064 40,890 114,662
November 2007 5,221,947 38,983 116,456
December 2007 5,374,953 37,963 112,298
January 2008 4,957,887 38,739 105,475
February 2008 4,828,048 37,310 110,919
March 2008 5,612,269 39,313 119,265
April 2008 5,467,910 39,312 120,950
May 2008 5,645,161 40,824 123,862
June 2008 5,958,635 40,195 120,964
July 2008 6,417,660 41,515 123,996
August 2008 6,365,717 40,858 120,285
September 2008 5,802,706 39,846 117,521
October 2008 5,630,399 40,409 119,501
November 2008 4,971,829 37,737 117,621
December 2008 5,251,674 37,081 100,210
January 2009 4,853,191 37,928 92,580
February 2009 4,370,846 34,356 91,046
March 2009 5,193,571 39,968 102,963
April 2009 5,612,596 38,728 93,171
May 2009 5,424,789 39,646 100,045
June 2009 5,775,828 39,230 103,403
July 2009 6,477,476 40,262 109,254
August 2009 6,383,692 39,621 111,324
September 2009 5,783,611 37,869 110,244
October 2009 5,687,438 38,452 120,618
November 2009 5,028,739 37,045 123,439
December 2009 5,316,129 36,921 120,209
January 2010 4,830,092 36,128 106,299
February 2010 4,600,406 35,061 113,021
March 2010 5,211,877 37,363 133,399
April 2010 4,446,530 31,098 100,477
May 2010 5,255,772 37,899 136,165
June 2010 5,783,051 37,989 127,574
July 2010 6,705,882 41,438 130,094
August 2010 6,542,496 41,016 127,200
September 2010 6,221,219 40,002 123,680
October 2010 6,097,490 40,741 138,301
November 2010 5,243,163 38,004 127,961
December 2010 4,809,195 32,481 108,913
January 2011 5,052,726 39,349 116,176
February 2011 4,621,717 36,243 118,325
March 2011 5,331,451 40,159 130,909
April 2011 5,848,560 39,399 121,689
May 2011 5,865,558 40,768 128,083
June 2011 6,146,986 39,963 125,718
July 2011 6,872,514 41,596 128,103
August 2011 6,585,442 41,168 120,942
September 2011 6,310,903 40,528 119,097
October 2011 6,019,465 40,955 128,305
November 2011 5,218,862 37,943 122,769
December 2011 5,517,264 38,126 124,371
January 2012 5,169,518 39,073 112,324
February 2012 4,798,785 36,834 115,920
March 2012 5,697,132 39,890 130,860
April 2012 5,849,171 38,948 118,686
May 2012 5,831,840 40,734 123,172
June 2012 6,245,553 39,685 125,013
July 2012 6,569,647 41,127 126,512
August 2012 6,459,119 41,046 121,469
September 2012 6,345,935 39,616 121,135
October 2012 6,011,761 39,638 125,367
November 2012 5,381,138 37,305 124,057
December 2012 5,625,269 37,445 120,035
January 2013 5,184,924 36,872 106,425
February 2013 4,848,548 35,281 110,948
March 2013 5,921,068 39,413 127,862
April 2013 5,806,681 38,677 115,175
May 2013 6,105,232 40,460 117,849
June 2013 6,531,933 40,013 119,786
July 2013 6,930,334 41,323 118,962
August 2013 6,959,544 41,413 114,225
September 2013 6,559,112 40,308 115,547
October 2013 6,289,291 40,884 124,099
November 2013 5,411,354 38,330 133,376
December 2013 5,784,898 36,578 118,759
January 2014 5,383,877 37,443 112,093
February 2014 4,898,467 35,256 109,803
March 2014 5,753,321 39,470 132,989
April 2014 6,193,738 38,684 120,194
May 2014 6,236,718 41,211 125,982
June 2014 6,600,652 40,320 125,407
July 2014 6,965,356 41,499 128,206
August 2014 7,051,073 41,223 122,831
September 2014 6,577,692 39,837 124,570
October 2014 6,315,187 40,684 134,453
November 2014 5,473,031 37,771 136,419
December 2014 5,925,713 37,297 126,134
January 2015 5,454,689 37,130 115,847