New London hub airport would provide big boost for Northern Ireland
A new report by York Aviation and Oxford Economics published today (24 June) highlights how a decision on where to build new airport capacity in the southeast is of paramount importance to Northern Ireland. It highlights that only a new four-runway airport would restore the flight link between Belfast and the UK’s main hub airport. Leading economists have calculated that a regular service between Belfast and the UK’s hub airport would provide a £92m boost to the Northern Irish economy every year and deliver 710 new jobs.
The report, Making Connections, was written by experts from York Aviation and Oxford Economics and commissioned by Transport for London. It demonstrates that a new four runway hub airport would provide 12 flights a day to Belfast . The report comes as the Airports Commission, Chaired by Sir Howard Davies, is deciding which option for airport expansion in the south east, to recommend. The new analysis suggests that even a third runway at Heathrow would not lead to a sustainable service to Belfast being established. A third runway would fill up very quickly due to underlying demand and the pressure on airlines to use slots for the most profitable routes would mean Belfast losing out again.
Louise Congdon, Managing Partner at York Aviation, said: “There is no doubt that of all the options for expansion currently under consideration by the Airports Commission a new four-runway hub airport would provide the nations and regions with the best connectivity to the UK’s main international airport. This could include eight new regional routes and a more frequent service for cities that have a Heathrow connection currently. It might surprise some people that a third runway at Heathrow will do little to improve regional connectivity and not support any new routes due to commercial pressures on airlines.”
Commenting on the new report, the Mayor of London’s chief advisor on aviation, Daniel Moylan, said: “This report highlights that only a new four runway hub airport can connect each nation and region of the UK to London and the rest of the world. The current expansion debate must not be allowed to become simply a matter of where to build a new strip of tarmac in the south east. This is a decision that matters to the whole of the UK and it’s ludicrous that Amsterdam airport provides more than three times the number of UK regional connections than our so called national airport. The report also nails the lie that a third runway would help the UK cities & regions that Heathrow has left behind. It won’t. It will be full within two or three years of opening and just as now airlines will be forced to concentrate on their most profitable long-haul routes. I hope the Airports Commission studies the report in detail and takes into account the economic needs of the UK as a whole when preparing its final report.”