London follows similar airport system to other major cities

Howard Davies will launch his interim report next week

OAG Aviation has compared the UK airport system to four others in the country ahead of Howard Davies releasing his interim report into airport capacity later this month.

Based on how air traffic comes into New York, Paris, Tokyo and Moscow, OAG’s research suggests Davies’ proposals could focus on a system that would continue to see the majority of traffic come from three airports, with one (Heathrow) holding the most international flights.

While there are six airports currently under the London name (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, City and Southend), OAG pointed out three carry 90% of the capital’s traffic.

This is similar to three of the four previously- mentioned cities, which also run with three major airports.

London, Tokyo and Paris all have a dominant airport in Heathrow, Haneda and Charles de Gaulle, while New York and Moscow’s capacity is split more evenly. All the ‘second’ airports in all the cities still had significant traffic levels of 30-45 million passengers. Stansted could also creep up on these if its turnaround plans come to fruition.

Share of flights per airport
Share of flights per airport

London remains the capital of low-cost travel taking up a third of its flights.

It also has the largest international capacity of the cities’ five top airports with 128 million seats and dominates the city’s international traffic at 69%.

While the report did not indicate which way forward would be best for London’s airport capacity, it does show that others have run with one airport that dominates international traffic while also serving from other airports.

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