Friday 15 February 2013

Coping with congestion at London’s airports.

Travel chaos is to be expected in a British winter and particularly so at airports.

Heathrow however managed a modest growth of 0.3% in passengers during January and estimate that would have been bettered to 1.7% had it not been for the disruption caused by snow. Still a total of 5.2 million travelers is good and on line to meet its target of 71 million for the year. Gatwick despite wheeling out their new snowploughs suffered a passenger drop of 0.8% in January but will easily reach a yearly total of 35 million. Stansted copes with half of Gatwick’s passenger, so together with the two other airports that serves London, Luton and London city, these airports serve about 132 million passengers a year.

The view is that there is a pressing need for more capacity.

Mayor Boris Johnson favours the building of a new modern airport on the Thames estuary at a cost of billions. The alternatives are to build a third runway at Heathrow, expand the facilities at Stansted and Luton and progress the expansion of Southend airport.   

But there are alternatives to building what might become huge and costly white elephants.  

The trend towards the use of larger aircraft will increase. Better airline promotion has filled more seats, but a 70% sold seat capacity suggests that they can do much better. See how well Emirates promote their services.  

Our Government appears to under rate the importance of tourism to our economy except as a taxation cow. The industry has created nearly two million jobs and contributes 4% of GDP. Britain is still very popular as a tourism destination.

We can all do much better.

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