Heathrow arguing, as ever, about need for single hub airport, due to benefits of transfer passengers
The Sunday Telegraph reports that Heathrow’s first tranche of evidence to be put before the Airports Commission will say that only a single hub airport allows for a sufficient number of vital transfer passengers. This, of course, is what one would expect them to say, from self interest. The Telegraph says that at present 1 million long-haul business and 1st-class passengers travel through Heathrow every year, which is nearly 85% of all such traffic that leaves the UK. Heathrow relies on transfer passengers from other international destinations to support the number of flights that leave Britain to vital business centres in China and the USA. Heathrow says if there were two hubs (as happens in New York), such as Heathrow and Gatwick, or Heathrow and Stansted, the transfer traffic that makes these flights profitable would be lost. And “The number of destinations served will therefore be cut, at a cost to British businesses.” The first stage is for the Airports Commission, under Sir Howard Davies, to decide whether a single hub is necessary – or whether there is enough capacity already and traffic needs to be more efficiently spread between airports.
Kamal Ahmed tries to regurgitate Heathrow’s transfer passenger
argument. Not a single piece of analysis by
Heathrow says Percentage of transfer passengers in 2011: 34.6% (24.0 million) This compares to 36% in 2010 and 38% in 2009. So the number is going down.
Heathrow says single hub is vital for Britain
Up to one million long-haul business and first-class passengers flights which leave the UK every year could be put at risk if the Government does not maintain a single hub airport, Heathrow will argue this week.
By Kamal Ahmed, Sunday Telegraph Business Editor
11 Nov 2012
In the airport’s first tranche of evidence to be put before the Davies Committee, Heathrow will say that only a single hub airport allows for a sufficient number of vital transfer passengers.
At present 1m long-haul business and first-class passengers travel through Heathrow every year, nearly 85pc of all such traffic that leaves the UK.
The airport relies on transfer passengers from other international destinations to support the number of flights that leave Britain to vital business centres in China and the USA. [So this contradicts their claims that we hardly have any key routes to China !]
The report will say that if the hub is split, for example between Heathrow and Gatwick, that essential transfer traffic will be lost. The number of destinations served will therefore be cut, at a cost to British businesses.
At this stage Heathrow will not say where the single hub airport should be sited, believing that it has to first win the argument that such a hub is necessary.
Other airports such as Birmingham and Stansted claim that they could take more of the forecast passenger traffic increase, taking pressure off Heathrow and meaning there would be no need for more runways at the congested airport west of London.
But the Heathrow report will argue that such a plan would never work at “point-to-point” airports which rely on leisure traffic because they do not receive enough transfer passengers.
“Direct and transfer passengers have to work together,” said one source.
Although Heathrow will not rule out a new hub in the Thames Estuary, the preferred option of the London mayor, Boris Johnson, the airport’s owners will make it clear that if the hub moves, Heathrow will largely close.
Although some have said Heathrow could operate as a slimmed down airport, officials pointed out that the site had huge transfer facilities which would have to be moth balled.
Thousands of jobs would therefore be at risk.
Some of the comments are interesting: