Airlines like Emirates keen to fly from regional airports – reducing future demand at Heathrow and Gatwick

Heathrow Airport has been saying recently that, though it is desperate to get a third runway, even they realise that there is not the demand for a 4th runway. The DfT has consistently over-estimated the amount of passenger demand over the last decade.  In reality, passengers from parts of the UK other than the south east can get long haul flights from regional airports. The UK Vice President of Emirates says he wants to expand flights from UK’s regional airports, rather than Heathrow or Gatwick, and has a direct flight from Newcastle to Dubai, for transfers on from there.  With that happening more and more in future, the south east airports’ dreams for expansion in the south east, requiring a massive hub airport, look less and less probable. Forecasts more than a few years ahead are based on so many uncertainties and unknowns as to be almost without value. Making best use of existing airports is more efficient than grandiose new infrastructure projects which run the risk of being white elephants. Had a second Stansted runway been built by 2012, it would now be standing idle.



Bdaily talks to Emirates’ Vice President, Laurie Berryman

18 MAR 2013 (BDaily)

by Tom Keighley

In a long article reporting an interview with Laurie Berryman, the Vice President UK and Ireland for Emirates Airline, BDaily includes some interesting points in relation to UK airport capacity..

Full article is at 

Some extracts:
Laurie is responsible for all sales, marketing and airport operations in the UK. Emirates operate from six airports, and also have a Manchester call centre. Overall, their UK workforce totals 750.

Laurie suggests there is an appetite for long haul flights from the regions.

He added: “In many ways we’ve changed the way people travel long haul from the regions. Whereas before many people had to go down to Heathrow, or via Amsterdam, more and more people are going via Dubai or other Middle East hubs.

“More people are saying they don’t want to change planes at London anymore, because of the types of hassles they’ve seen in the media. The snow and the fog seem to disrupt Heathrow on a regular basis and I’m a great believer that the regions are important.

“I think people are very proud of their regional airport. It’s something they don’t have in London; people hate Heathrow and Gatwick.”

[Emirates now has a direct flight from Newcastle to Dubailink ]

While Laurie is confident of the major part that regional airports could play in expanding UK capacity, he also notes that London could also benefit from expansion.


To analyse Emirates’ own growth, and identify expansion opportunities, the firm have a team to crunch the numbers.

He explained: “The UK is not the only country where we’ve gone into regional airports. For instance, in France we’re quite unique to be flying out of Leon and Nice, as well as Paris. We always look at the opportunities and particularly the fact that people want to get, one-stop, to places like the Far East and Australia.


“We nearly always grow a market too. Newcastle is a good a good example. We looked into it and there was almost no traffic officially from Newcastle into the Indian Ocean – the likes of Mauritius, Seychelles and the Maldives.

“People couldn’t do it. But as soon as we put a flight on with connections to those three places, we got traffic straight away. It’s that realisation of pent-up demand.”

…… However, the changing regional dynamic [middle East situation, Syria etc]  has afforded some opportunities for Dubai. Laurie explains: “Some regional companies in the Middle East have actually moved their headquarters to Dubai because they feel that its very stable and safe.”


Full article at