Heathrow would spend £10 million to increase some domestic flights, only if granted a 3rd runway, to get backing from regions

Heathrow has increasingly cut the number of flights to UK regional airports, as it has become more uneconomic for the airlines to run them – and long haul international routes are more profitable. But Heathrow is aware that it  needs to get the backing of regional airports, in order to lobby to be allowed a 3rd runway.  Heathrow therefore suggested the setting up of a National Connectivity Task Force. In order to boost flights to the regions, Heathrow now says that – only IF it gets a new runway – it will spend £10 million on for the development of 5 new domestic routes, for 3 years. These would include Newquay, Humberside and Liverpool.  That would be in addition to the 4 extra routes that easyJet has said it wants to operate if there is a Heathrow runway, to Inverness, Belfast International, the Isle of Man and Jersey.  There are currently 6 domestic routes from Heathrow (Leeds Bradford, Belfast City, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Newcastle). Heathrow also said it would launch a review of its airport charges in the coming weeks to focus on making domestic flights more commercially attractive (cheaper) to airlines. The results of this consultation, which is not dependent upon getting a new runway, will be effective from January 2016.

Heathrow commits to increasing domestic flights in bid for expansion

Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, has pledged to open new domestic routes if its plan for a third runway are approved

By Lauren Davidson  (Telegraph)

23 March 2015

Heathrow has pledged to create more flights to regional airports in the UK if it wins its hotly-contested bid for expansion and has set aside £10m for the development of new domestic routes.

The West London airport said the multi-million pound conditional commitment would be able to fund five new local flight paths for three years, in addition to the four extra routes that easyJet has announced it would look to operate if a Heathrow expansion is confirmed.

Heathrow also said it would launch a review of its airport charges in the coming weeks to focus on making domestic flights more commercially attractive to airlines.

The results of the consultation, which is not dependent upon expansion, will be effective from January 2016.

Passengers can currently fly between Heathrow and seven domestic locations – including Leeds Bradford, Belfast City, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Newcastle – which means that several European airports have more connections to UK destinations than London’s largest airport does.

Amsterdam Schiphol serves almost four times as many British airports as Heathrow does, with connections to 27 destinations, while Paris Charles de Gaulle operates 16 UK routes.
Heathrow, which is currently operating at full capacity, has suggested its new routes could include Newquay, Humberside and Liverpool, while easyJet has said it would look to fly to Inverness, Belfast International, the Isle of Man and Jersey.

The announcement is the latest move in an ongoing battle between Gatwick and its larger rival for an expansion deal that would most likely see a new runway built at either location to serve demand for increased airport capacity in the London area.

Independent analysis from the Airports Commission has shown that an expanded Heathrow could add £214bn to GDP and create almost 180,000 jobs, while a second runway at Gatwick could boost the economy to the tune of £127bn and add around 50,000 jobs.

The chief executive of Heathrow pointed out that more than half these impacts would affect UK regions outside of London and the South East, with some 108,000 jobs and £88.5bn in economic benefits — out of a conservative estimate of a £147.2bn growth — landing in other UK regions.

The ability of either airport to boost connections with passengers outside of London will be crucial to the success of its expansion bid.

“Manufacturers are clear, despite the shortlist being two airports in the South East, this is a decision that will need to be taken in the national interest,” a spokesperson for the manufacturers’ association EEF said. “Export-intensive manufacturers right across the country rate aviation as critical to their business operations, with [our] surveys and engagement with members indicating a preference for Heathrow over Gatwick.”

Saad Hammad, chief executive of Flybe – the UK’s largest regional airline, which does not currently serve any routes connecting to Heathrow – said that he “welcomes the commitment of Heathrow to enhance regional connectivity both within current runway capacity constraints and in the event of new runway development.”

Commending Heathrow for “taking practical steps to be more inclusive,” Mr Hammad added: “Our national hub in the South East must address the needs of all the nations and regions of the UK not just those living within the boundary of the M25.”


The number of regional connections from Heathrow has fallen from 18 in 1990 to just seven today.  Liverpools link to Heathrow was cancelled over 2 decades ago.



Heathrow unveils £10m fund to boost regional connectivity

Heathrow has unveiled a package of commitments for new routes, increased frequencies and funding for regional airports.

The measures, conditional on expansion, include a £10 million Heathrow Route Development Fund which aims to boost connectivity on domestic routes from Heathrow.

The changes will be partly funded by airport charges, which will be reviewed as Heathrow aims to keep certain domestic services “commercially attractive” to airlines from January 2016.   [Why that date??] 

The measures follow commitments made by the National Connectivity Task Force, set up in May 2014, with a remit to recommend how connectivity between the UK’s nations and regions and the major airports in the south east can be enhanced.

Four new routes outlined by Heathrow have already been earmarked by Easyjet  – Inverness, Belfast International, Isle of Man and Jersey. Earlier this year Easyjet backed the airport for expansion over Gatwick.

Heathrow said the other three airports which could benefit from the Development Fund are Liverpool, Newquay and Humberside.

Flybe CEO Saad Hammad welcomed the announcement stating the national hub must address the needs of the whole country not “just those living within the M25”.

“Flybe welcomes the commitment of Heathrow to enhance regional connectivity both within current runway capacity constraints and in the event of new runway development.

“Key to this is an airport pricing regime that encourages regional connectivity alongside guaranteed slot availability for regional connecting services. We are delighted that Heathrow has listened to the issues faced by the UK regions and is taking practical steps to be more inclusive.”




Regional airport access must be priority in runway decision

Regional airport access for the entire UK must be a key consideration for the Airports Commission when the decision on future runway capacity in the south east is decided this summer, a task force has said.

The National Connectivity Task Force announced its findings in a report entitled “Air Connectivity Matters – Linking the Nations and Regions of Britain to London and the World”.

London Heathrow suggested setting up the task force in its submission to the Airports Commission in May last year.

However, chair Lord John Shipley insisted the task force was completely independent as no member was paid and it reported directly to the commission.

Addressing an audience of policy-makers, aviation and travel industry representatives and regional and business leaders in London yesterday, Shipley said the runway decision represents a “major rethink” of policy which has “prioritised international air access” over domestic services to Gatwick and Heathrow.

“The effect of the repeated failure of government to make strategically important decisions about runway capacity in the south east over the last quarter of a century and then see them through, is a heavily congested and impaired market which forces UK regions to rely on overseas hubs for their global connectivity.

“The existing UK policy can no longer be defended when there is the prospect of over 250,000 additional take-off and landing slots being released when a new runway opens. Moreover, a failure to act now and adopt some relatively straightforward and low cost interim solutions, would be completely at odds with broader government policy priorities on economic growth and rebalancing,” he added.

However, Gatwick airport, which is campaigning for a second runway and is in opposition to LHR’s desire for a third runway, today claimed the report was biased.

A statement from LGW described it as “an exercise in manufacturing an outcome to support Heathrow’s third runway ambitions”.

The Task Force was established last autumn to focus on the case for enhanced regional air connectivity.



Heathrow in hub pledge to Liverpool John Lennon Airport


By Neil Hodgson  (Liverpool Echo)
Charges review and support package could see new link for city by 2016

Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) could be linked to Heathrow, the UK’s main hub airport, from next year.

A hub link, allowing business and leisure passengers to access global flights through a Heathrow link, could provide a huge boost to the Merseyside economy.

The London airport has announced a new package of commitments linked to its plans for expansion.

These include a review of its charges for domestic routes, to be implemented in January 2016.

And it said if it gets the green light to expand capacity it would launch a £10m route development fund to provide start-up support for five new routes between airports like LJLA and Heathrow, where needed, to encourage airlines to set up links.

Because Heathrow has been full for the past 10 years many airlines have been forced to use available capacity for their long-haul flights, at the expense of domestic routes.

As a result, the number of regional connections from Heathrow has fallen from 18 in 1990 to just seven today.

Liverpool’s connection to Heathrow was cancelled more than two decades ago.

As part of its commitment to encourage more domestic links, Heathrow has also pledged to partner with UK airports, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), chambers of commerce, and national and regional governments to jointly approach airlines to establish new domestic routes through Heathrow.

Business and political leaders across Liverpool are backing Heathrow’s plans for expansion.

They include Andrew Cornish, LJLA chief executive, Merseytravel chief executive David Brown, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson MP and chair of the Transport Select Committee Louise Ellman, and fellow Labour MP George Howarth.

Independent research by Quod, commissioned by Heathrow, and based on economic analysis by the Airports Commission, shows how an expanded Heathrow will benefit the North West, with the region expected to receive up to £12.5bn in economic growth and 15,300 new jobs.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “We’re ready to connect Liverpool to global growth.

“We have been listening to businesses, politicians and now to the National Connectivity Task Force, and today’s announcement shows that we have a plan to deliver what Britain needs.“

LJLA chief executive Andrew Cornish said: “For too long Liverpool has been cut off from the nation’s hub airport.

“Expansion at Heathrow, alongside the commitments that have been made today, will boost our chances of securing a vital link through Heathrow to emerging and established growth markets around the world.

“Airports are key economic drivers for the UK’s regions and it’s time we were given permission to unleash our full potential.

“An expanded Heathrow will mean more jobs and stronger growth for Liverpool and its surrounds and ensure our community is connected to opportunities around the world.”

And Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce chief executive Jenny Stewart, who sat on the National Connectivity Task Force, added: “Expansion at Heathrow would give investors around the world the chance to access Liverpool and strengthen our businesses ability to compete for global growth.

“This plan could deliver more jobs for our region, boost our economy and ensure Liverpool continues to grow as an attractive place to live and work.”