The airport commissioned a report by Frontier Economics that claims a lack of capacity is already costing the UK “up to £14bn a year in lost trade”, potentially rising to £28bn a year by 2030.
This includes potential growing trade with a string of emerging powerhouses such as Guangzhou in China, which has connections to other European hubs but is not served by Heathrow.
The report warns that the UK has no “divine right” to have a major hub, with passengers from Asia equally happy changing planes at Amsterdam or Dubai on their way to the Americas.
The airport also rubbished the idea of having two hub airports in the south east, arguing that it would take passengers almost two hours to transfer between Heathrow and Gatwick.
“The new work we are publishing today shows that only a single hub airport can meet the UK’s connectivity needs and the choice is therefore between adding capacity at Heathrow or replacing it with a new UK hub airport,” said Heathrow boss Colin Matthews.
The Davies Commission, which the government has tasked with examining the options for UK’s capacity crunch, is looking at several ideas including a new Thames Estuary hub or an enlarged regional airport such as Birmingham.