Airlines avoid the UK due to full Heathrow

Marion Dakers
AIRLINES are spurning the UK because there is no space for them at Heathrow, a survey has claimed.

Fifty-three per cent of carriers said they are adding flights in other countries because of the problem, though eight in ten are keen to increase journeys to the UK – providing slots at Heathrow are made available.

The stats, compiled by the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, were used by BAA chief exec Colin Matthews to lobby ministers to let Britain’s biggest airport expand.

“The message I hear from airlines is clear: if there’s no room at Heathrow then flights will move out of the UK altogether,” the head of Heathrow’s parent firm said.

Industry group the CBI warned that the country “is becoming a branch-line destination on the route map of global airlines”.

The coalition is due to set out how it plans to raise the UK’s air capacity soon, with rising pressure on ministers to rethink its blanket ban on a third Heathrow runway.

Aviation minister Theresa Villiers, speaking alongside Matthews at Transport Times conference, said: “We want aviation to grow … but growth at any price and without regard for the environmental consequences would not be in the nation’s best interests.”