Heathrow overtaken by Schiphol as Europe’s top airport for direct connectivity
London Heathrow has been toppled from its ranking as the number one airport in Europe for direct connectivity, according to a new report (not available to the public) from Airports Council International (ACI) Europe. Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport now has the top ranking, with Frankfurt third, and Paris Charles de Gaulle fourth and Istanbul Ataturk fifth – on level of “direct connectivity.” Schiphol has risen up the ranks fast since 2007, and about 20% + of its flights are low cost. The ACI Europe’s airport industry connectivity report found that for the 2nd year in a row, direct connectivity is growing at a faster rate than indirect and hub connectivity. ACI Europe said this reflected the expansion of low-cost carriers on both short- and medium-haul markets and “the relative retrenchment of network carriers”. Frankfurt is still the highest-ranked airport for hub connectivity in the world, with Amsterdam in second, then Dallas-Fort Worth, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Atlanta. ACI noted that over the past 10 years, 99% of the growth in passenger traffic of the top 20 European airports was due to low-cost airlines. Low-cost carriers have moved into larger airports and hubs, and they are now making inroads into the long-haul market.
London Heathrow is no longer Europe’s number one airport for direct connectivity as Amsterdam’s Schiphol flies higher
By Rebecca Smith (City AM)
London Heathrow has been toppled from its ranking as the number one airport in Europe for direct connectivity, according to a new report from Airports Council International (ACI) Europe.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport has flown past the capital’s biggest airport to take the top spot, with Frankfurt, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Istanbul Ataturk making up the top five airports offering the highest levels of direct connectivity.
It marks a stark jump for the Netherlands airport, which has propelled from its sixth position in 2007, led partly by its hub connectivity gains, but also the fact that low-cost carriers now account for 21 per cent of the airport’s direct connectivity.
Heathrow’s decrease in direct connectivity is predominantly due to a lack of airport capacity. The airport got the go-ahead for a third runway from the government back in October.
ACI Europe’s airport industry connectivity report found that for the second year in a row, direct connectivity is growing at a faster rate than indirect and hub connectivity. ACI Europe said this reflected the expansion of low-cost carriers on both short- and medium-haul markets and “the relative retrenchment of network carriers”.
Frankfurt is still the highest-ranked airport for hub connectivity in the world, with Amsterdam in second, then Dallas-Fort Worth, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Atlanta. However, Middle East and Asian airports have been fast-growing, which ACI says is “driving hub dynamics”.
Abu Dhabi has been the fastest growing hub since 2007, followed by Delhi and Guangzhou, and while none of them yet feature in the top 20 global hubs, the report said their rise is “emblematic of the shift” happening in global aviation towards the Gulf and Asia.
Airport competition in general has developed with the expansion of low-cost carriers. ACI noted that over the past 10 years, 99 per cent of the growth in passenger traffic of the top 20 European airports has been delivered by low-cost carriers.
Olivier Jankovec, ACI Europe’s director general, said: “The low-cost revolution is marching on – and nothing will stop it.”
Low-cost carriers have moved into larger airports and hubs, and they are now making inroads into the long-haul market.
Europe’s airports will see 87 long-haul routes being operated by low-cost carriers this summer, up from 14 just four years ago.
The next step – which Ryanair has just started experimenting, is to offer feed to network carriers or even develop their own connecting product.
Schiphol airport unfazed by prospect of new London runway – many UK passengers prefer transferring from Schiphol
Schiphol Group president and chief executive Jos Nijhuis, described Amsterdam as “London’s second hub”. Schiphol now handles up to 8 million UK passengers a year, 60% of whom connect to onward flights. Schiphol believes passengers from UK regional airports will continue to choose Amsterdam rather than Heathrow to connect to long‑haul flights, even if Heathrow gets a 3rd runway. 13 UK airports have services to Amsterdam and this will rise to 14 next month, with the addition of Belfast. The loss of UK regional traffic to Amsterdam because of capacity constraints at Heathrow has featured heavily in Heathrow’s lobbying for a new runway, wanting to prevent the loss of customers to Schiphol. And wanting to keep on being the biggest international airport, by far, in Europe. Jos Nijhuis said: “We are London’s second hub and doing very well. …I tell [Heathrow chief executive] John Holland-Kaye: ‘Consider our most western runway as yours. We can rename it Heathrow Runway Three….We are a much better transfer airport [than our rivals]. We designed the airport for transfers.” KLM chief executive Pieter Elbers said: “I don’t think additional capacity in London would make Heathrow more attractive than Schiphol to passengers in Newcastle or Humberside.” He felt higher charges needed by Heathrow to pay for a new runway would mean the runway would not reduce the traffic going via Schiphol.
Schiphol claims to operate Heathrow’s 3rd runway and provide the UK with global links
Schiphol airport has launching an aggressive advertising campaign, making out that it is offering more than 100 daily flights to the UK, enabling Britons to connect to 275 destinations across the world. Schiphol now serves 23 UK airports in Britain, compared with 12 offered by Gatwick and only 7 by Heathrow. Schiphol has 5 runways – compared with Heathrow’s 2 [of course, they cannot all be used at the same time – probably in practice only two are used at once]. Schiphol hopes to have more passengers etc than Heathrow within a decade (don’t they all?). The Telegraph is promoting this story, to help pile on pressure for new runways in the south east, and also as part of its continuing campaign against APD – wanting flying to be even more under-taxed than at present. The Telegraph, and Schiphol, are promoting the fear that Heathrow might be overtaken some time, with threats that ….”the Government is outsourcing Britain’s airports and jobs to our European competitors.”
Schiphol to get 3,000 fewer night flights per year – but that still leaves 29,000 per year
The number of night flights at Schiphol in the next 3 years will be reduced from 32,000 to 29,000. That still means around 80 flights per night – hugely more than other airports. There has been an agreement – the Alders Agreement – between the airport and the local communities under the airport ‘s flight path. It allows for some growth at the airport but only within strict environmental limits. In order to remain within these limits the number of night flights had to be cut, but the agreement is only for 3 years. Schiphol is saying that the 3,000 flights are not being switched to other airports, and it is a real reduction, not just a displacement. Up to 2020 the limit for the number of aircraft movements at Schiphol is 510,000 per year. There are also meant to be measures to use quieter planes to cut noise and compensate residents for noise.