Expansion at Heathrow gets a boost from traffic number and backing of air alliances

Heathrow airport handled 6.9m passengers in July – up 5.5 per cent from the year before. This increase was largely due to lower traffic last year from the timing of the Olympic games in London.

East Asia traffic saw the biggest increase, up 18.9 per cent primarily due to increases in capacity. China traffic was up 22.2 per cent, while India was up 10.8 per cent.

The Davies Commission is currently reviewing Britain’s air capacity requirements, with a number of options open to it, including additional runways at Heathrow and a new hub on the Thames Estuary. The commission is due to present an interim report on UK air needs by the end of this year and a full report in the summer of 2015.

These results should boost the airport’s chances of being selected for a third or even fourth runway.

All three global airline alliances – Oneworld (led by Birtish Airways), Star (including Lufthansa, United Airlines and Singapore Airlines and SkyTeam (including Air France-KLM, Delta Airlines and China Eastern) – have ruled out moving from Heathrow to another UK airport, even though some options on the table would require at least one of them to relocate.

Star has said it does “not see any opportunity for us to make a change to another airport” while SkyTeam said “relocating to another London or UK airport is not an option for our members”.