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The UK's Number 1 Hub Airport

In June 2018, the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly to approve a new runway at London Heathrow. Yet, just as before the vote, there is opposition to allowing the airport to grow.
We'll be keeping an eye on how things are progressing so watch this space!


New Flights Between Cornwall and Heathrow​

The Secretary of State for Transport has announced a new direct air route between Newquay and Heathrow Airport from April 2019, offering passengers a greater range of choice for when and where to fly and link businesses in the South West to global trade partners.

The public service obligation which allows this route to run is jointly funded by a government and Cornwall Council initiative and will give passengers a choice of more than 200 destinations across 85 countries.

Airlines flying to any UK destination from Heathrow will continue to benefit from £15 discount on airport charges, making it cheaper to fly within the UK than ever before. This is just one element in a package of measures Heathrow is implementing to support more domestic flights within the UK.

This new route is a clear example of the government's own ambitions as it works to ensure all regions of the UK are well served by airports and routes to the rest of the country.

(Read also the Aviation Oracle under 'Aviation')

Figures reveal additional Heathrow-Inverness air service worth £17m to Scottish economy

21 November, 2018

Figures newly released by Heathrow reveal £17m is expected to be injected into the Scottish economy annually, as a result of a new Heathrow to Inverness air service introduced earlier this month.

Heathrow, Inverness Airport and Scottish businesses have come together to welcome British Airways’ new daily flight, that will better connect the vibrant North with the UK’s only international hub airport. The launch will see an additional 83,500 seats to Inverness a year and help more international passengers connect to the area, it’s people, tourism, exports and business. And it’s not just those visiting Scotland for its great food, music and Loch Ness Monster that will help boost economic growth estimated by Frontier.

Better connections to Heathrow gives Scottish businesses more opportunity to reach markets and trade with the world. Heathrow deals with 34% of all UK trade (by value) and last year handled 35,000 tonnes of salmon, a major Scottish export, worth £223m to UK economy.

Today, Heathrow supports domestic routes to four cities across Scotland: Inverness, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. As part of Heathrow expansion, the airport is working with Scottish airports and the Scottish Government to protect these routes and introduce up to 14 new domestic flights to UK cities, such as Dundee, with a £10m route development fund. In January, Heathrow also increased its domestic passenger discount to £15 to support domestic services.

Highlands and Islands Airports Managing Director Inglis Lyon, said:

“Inverness Airport is the gateway to the Highlands and Islands and its continued success plays a significant role in supporting businesses and communities across the region and also allows visitors ready access to all that Scotland has to offer. Connecting this to the UK’s front door will bring further benefits for industries such as tourism and business and Heathrow’s role in allowing trade with the rest of the world, cannot be underestimated.”

Heathrow also recognises the vital role SME’s play in keeping the UK an outward looking trading nation, and over the past two years have partnered with the Department for International Trade’s ‘Exporting is GREAT’ Campaign. The campaign aims to help British businesses identify and reach new markets for their goods or services. The World of Opportunity programme has already awarded 40 SMEs with grants worth £80,000 to fund trade missions, trade shows and foreign market research. Last year’s winner from Grantown-on-Spey has also welcomed million pound boost to Scotland.

Heathrow lands two years of consecutive, monthly growth records in October.

  • In October, Heathrow reported strong passenger growth (+4.4%). Almost 7m[1]passengers travelled through the airport, bolstered by the half-term getaway

  • Heathrow marked two years of consecutive record monthly volumes for the hub airport. The increases in passenger numbers are coming from larger and fuller aircraft.

  • North America led the growth, up by a remarkable 9.1%, as October saw various NFL teams travel to Heathrow to play for match fixtures at Wembley stadium.

  • Over 150,000 metric tonnes of cargo travelled through Heathrow in October with Brazil and China showing the strongest cargo performance. Brazil’s growth was driven by BA’s additional flights to the country, while China’s cargo volumes grew following the arrival of a number of new Chinese routes, including the addition of the airport’s 11thChinese route to Shenzhen.

  • October marked the first anniversary of Heathrow’s Living Wage accreditation, a significant milestone in the airport’s long-term plan for sustainable growth.

  • In a world first, Heathrow announced there will be free landing charges for the inaugural year of operation of the first electric-hybrid aircraft touching down on its runways.

  • The Government announced that, from next year, visitors from the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan will be allowed to use the eGates at Heathrow for a quicker and more efficient experience at the UK border.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:

“We are proud to have been Living Wage accredited for the last 12 months and would encourage other businesses to do the same.  When colleagues earn enough to support their families, they provide better customer service and this has contributed to record numbers of passengers choosing to travel through Heathrow this year.”

Heathrow continues to get quieter.

  • Oman Air's fleet earns it high ranking in latest Fly Quiet and Green table while LOT crowned greenest, quietest airline

  • Data from latest “Fly Quiet and Green” league table shows Heathrow airlines continue to modernise their aircraft

  • More than one in five aircraft landing at Heathrow this year are expected to be ‘Chapter 14 Low’ – the quietest aircraft available.

Oman Air’s investment in modernising its Heathrow fleet has paid off – with the airline making an impressive leap forward in the airport’s latest “Fly Quiet and Green” results. Oman Air is now second to Polish carrier LOT, in the airport’s quarterly ranking of airlines’ environmental performance.

LOT Polish Airlines, which operate a new Boeing 737 MAX on their Heathrow services to Warsaw, has continuously worked with Heathrow’s operational team to find ways to improve its operations. LOT’s persistence has paid off, with the latest results crowning the airline pole

position in environmental performance this quarter.

Honourable mentions this quarter also go to Aer Lingus, an airline that has consistently proven itself amongst the quietest and greenest at Heathrow -  placing amongst the top three rankings in all but two Fly Quiet and Green league tables.  Air Malta has also performed well this quarter, jumping up 11 ranks to 11th place, following improved use of the quieter “Continuous Descent Approach” into the airport and greater adherence to the Government set noise-preferential routes.

The latest “Fly Quiet and Green” league table, which ranked the top 50 busiest airlines at Heathrow on seven noise

and emission metrics from July to September 2018, shows airlines continuing to invest in the modernisation of their fleets.  Over the last quarter, Oman Air has phased out the use of its older A330s on its Heathrow routes for Boeing 787s Dreamliners – amongst the quietest and most environmentally friendly aircraft on the market today.  As a result, the airline has jumped up an astounding 26 places over the last quarter – showing the impact technology can have on airline’s environmental performance.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability, said:

“Our airline partners continue to impress us with their commitment to reduce their noise and emissions impacts.  This quarter, Oman Air has completely transformed their Heathrow operations with their new  top-of-the-range Dreamliner fleet.  This investment is a win-win- win as it benefits their passengers, the environment and our local communities – and shows how being a responsible, environmentally-conscious company can also be good for business.”

It’s Bear-ginning to look a lot like Christmas

Heathrow has today unveiled its newest Christmas advert, which adds another tale to the life of Britain’s much-loved bears; Doris and Edward Bair.

The pair, who have starred in the airport’s last two Christmas TV adverts, are this year returning to the UK from their Florida home after longing for the quintessential British Christmas.

The advert opens with Edward soaking up the rays on a lilo, wearing festive swimming shorts and applying layers of tanning oil. 

After hearing the sound of carols, speaking to family and seeing images of home, all these little touches remind The Bairs that Christmas in the sunshine is just not the same. From memories of cosy fires and stockings hung, to drinking mulled wine and the grandchildren playing, Doris and Edward know what they need to do to make it Christmas; make it Home.

Set to the 80’s classic of Paul Young’s ‘Every Time You Go Away’, The Bairs rush themselves back towards the British twilight, arriving into Heathrow - the same location their eyes met and their love story began 50 years ago.

Heathrow extends its Chinese network with new services to Asian Silicon Valley

31 October, 2018

Yesterday evening, Heathrow welcomed the first UK flight arriving directly from the Chinese economic powerhouse and megacity of Shenzhen.  Operated by Shenzhen Airlines, this thrice weekly service will transport up to 96,408 passengers a year and 3,120 tonnes of annual exports and imports to the city known as China’s tech hub. Recently, Lonely Planet has ranked Shenzhen second on its list of ‘top 10 cities to visit in 2019’ .

The new route is the latest in a growing list of new Chinese routes announced by Heathrow this year.  Over 2018, Heathrow has more than doubled its existing direct connections to China -  growing the network from five destinations at the start of the year (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Qingdao) to 11 with the addition of Chongqing, Wuhan, Sanya, Changsa, Xi’an and now Shenzhen.

Located just over the border from Hong Kong, and only a short high-speed rail ride away,  Shenzhen has a population of over 12 million people and one of the highest GDP per capita of any city in China.  Home to tech giants like Huawei and Tencent  (owner of social media tools WeChat and Weibo), Shenzhen is known as China’s own Silicon Valley.  Creative industries are moving to the city not only for work, but also because of its thriving cultural scene.  In the past three years, the city has added a host of cultural destinations including ‘Design Society’, China’s first museum devoted to design that was delivered in conjunction with London’s V&A museum, as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition (MOCAPE) and heritage art village OCT-LOFT.  

Shenzhen Airlines is part owned by Air China and is the 4th largest Chinese carrier by passenger numbers. Its direct flight to Heathrow will become Shenzhen Airlines’ first long-haul route, and connect passengers from London, through Shenzhen City to its regional network of 210 domestic routes. The airline is now the 25th Star Alliance carrier that will operate under one roof at London Heathrow Terminal 2.

Heathrow’s latest Trade Tracker Report,  researched by economic analysts CEBR,  shows exports to China via Heathrow have grown by 330% over the last year – with exports between April and June this year totalling £3 billion in value. While connections to Chinese cities are valuable to the UK, rival EU hub airports with spare capacity are able to connect directly to Chinese destinations like Hangzhou, Chengdu, and Kunming, facilitating more trade and investment to their home countries.  By identifying efficiencies and gaps in schedules, Heathrow has been able to accommodate new routes this year, however this is a limited and piecemeal approach.  Expansion of Heathrow, the UK’s only hub airport and biggest port by value, will allow Britain the opportunity to build and maintain the vitally important trade connections to China the country needs in the long-haul.

Launching the route, Heathrow’s Chief Commercial Officer Ross Baker said:

“This year, we have focussed on strengthening Heathrow’s role as the UK’s gateway for Chinese trade, commerce and tourism.  While our passengers and exporters will undoubtedly be pleased with our new Shenzhen connection, along with the other routes we have announced this year, we know that in order to achieve true transformational change for our culture and economy we need the additional capacity for cargo and passengers to reach greater benefits. It is the creation of this extra capacity, achieved through Heathrow expansion that will allow Britain to trade on a truly global platform whilst providing Britain with a front door that is the best connected in the world.”

Heathrow lands record performance - Results for the nine months ended 30 September 2018

  • Lower charges and better service push Heathrow to record highs – An all-time record of 60.5m passengers have travelled through Heathrow so far in 2018 as the airport delivered better value and service. Passenger charges fell 1% to £21.59 whilst 82% of passengers said they had an “Excellent” or “Very Good” experience at Heathrow  

  • New long-haul routes lift global trade – Trade flowing through Heathrow increased 1.5% to a record high of 1.3m tonnes, boosted in part by this year’s 5 new services to China

  • Robust financial performance – Heathrow remains in strong financial health as revenues climbed 2.3% to £2,211 million on the back of higher demand to fly and strong retail spend – supporting an additional £555 million of investment into the airport. Adjusted EBITDA climbed 1.9% to £1,372 million. Remaining competitive as we expand continues to be a key priority, with operational charges increasing only slightly after investments to boost resilience, security and service in 2018

  • Prompt Payment Code champion – Heathrow has reaffirmed its undertakings to the Prompt Payment Code to pay suppliers on time

  • Global appetite to invest in Heathrow stronger than ever – Nearly £1.6 billion raised from global investors during 2018, recently adding a 7th currency with a debut Australian dollar issue. Attractive financing lays the groundwork for entirely privately-funded expansion and builds Heathrow’s financial resilience ahead of Brexit

  • Heathrow pushes for a carbon-neutral airport by 2020 – In its aim to be carbon-neutral by 2020, Heathrow launched the first in a series of peatland restoration projects. The site in Lancashire will trap nearly 23,000 tonnes of CO2 over 30 years – equivalent to nearly 64,000 passenger journeys from Heathrow to New York. The project comes as Terminal 2 became one of the first terminals in the world to be powered by 100% renewable energy

  • Ground surveys for expansion begin – Progress continues in delivering expansion. Initial ground surveys of surrounding land began in September. With two further public consultations set for January and June 2019, Heathrow remains on-track to submit a planning application in 2020 and for the first flights to use the new runway in 2026

Strong businesses can pay suppliers on time after Brexit, urges Heathrow

Heathrow is calling on major UK corporates to commit to paying suppliers on time by joining the airport in recommitting to the Prompt Payment Code. 

Announced alongside the airport’s Business Summit in Birmingham, Heathrow’s Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said the airport would continue to honour the Prompt Payment Code (PPC) well into the future. The airport’s support and new PPC sponsorship agreement marks a significant boost for the 1,400 SMEs and suppliers across Heathrow’s supply chain who will have certainty that they will continue to be paid on-time for services rendered. 

Heathrow has a long track-record of supporting and developing Britain’s SMEs through initiatives like the PPC and its Business Summit programme which looks to increase the number of companies outside London working in the airport’s supply chain. The Government has recently criticised several businesses, particularly in the construction industry, for contravening the terms of the PPC and Heathrow hopes that its re-commitment today will inspire other businesses to do the right thing for Britain’s SMEs. 

Today’s inaugural Birmingham Business Summit is an opportunity for the best and the brightest businesses from the Midlands to connect with 20 of Heathrow’s biggest suppliers, including the likes of Fujitsu, Jacobs, Balfour Beatty and Capgemini. An estimated £93.4 million of new deals have been won by businesses as a result of the partnerships formed at Business Summits held at Heathrow’s flagship event and across the UK. The Birmingham event is the final stop in the airport’s regional UK Business Summit tour, ahead of the flagship Heathrow Business Summit at the airport next month. 

This renewed commitment to SMEs comes as the airport continues to build momentum behind expansion. When it comes to delivering Britain’s third runway, Heathrow plans to place small and medium-sized businesses at the core of Britain’s most transformative infrastructure project. The airport is currently in the process of setting up four logistics hubs to source the skills and resources it needs to expand from businesses across the UK. The next stage of the selection process will be a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) which opens in autumn this year. A shortlist of potential Logistics Hubs will be announced early in 2019, before the final four sites are announced later in the year, with construction set to begin at these sites in 2021.

Heathrow’s Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye, said:

“Strong businesses must support SMEs, who are the life-blood of our economy. We are proud to commit to the Prompt Payment Code, and call on other businesses to provide that same reassurance to UK SMEs as they make their plans for Brexit.”

Heathrow offers free landing charges for a year to UK’s first electric plane

In a world airport first, Heathrow has announced that the first electric-hybrid aircraft will not have to pay Heathrow’s landing charges for an entire year when it is put into regular service at the UK’s international hub. In celebration of Green GB Week and inspired by the first flight short electric-powered flight carrying two passengers at Oslo Airport earlier this year, Heathrow is looking to leverage its role as one of the world’s leading airports to drive sustainable change across the industry.  

At the BusinessGreen Leaders’ Summit in London today, Heathrow’s Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye will launch a grand innovation incentive, valued at nearly £1 million. There are already more than 100 electric aircraft projects underway across the world and current industry thinking suggests electric aircraft could touch down at major international airports by 2030. Innovators are facing two main hurdles though – the cost of development and current demand. This prize has been designed to incentivise airlines to invest in electric technology, helping to increase demand and speed up the arrival of zero-emissions flights at the UK’s biggest airport.

Electric aircraft could be much quieter, cleaner and more efficient than today’s fleet. With global air passengers expected to double by 2035, these changes will play a critical role in driving a sustainable future for the aviation sector and will support goals outlined in Heathrow’s own sustainability strategy – Heathrow 2.0. The airport currently incentivises airlines to bring their greenest fleet to Heathrow through the use of environmental charges, and will continue to work with airlines to develop these incentives in the future.

The prize comes alongside Heathrow’s existing plans to decarbonize the industry and pursue clean growth, including the quarterly “Fly Quiet and Green” league table which tracks airline performance on noise and emissions targets, and a partnership with Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech to further the take-up of more sustainable biofuels.

A Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye, said:

“Heathrow has long been a leader in sustainable aviation.  We championed carbon neutral growth in global aviation, which will come into effect in 2020.  The next frontier is zero carbon flying, and I hope this prize will help to make it a reality at Heathrow by 2030.”

Airbus Chief Technology Officer Grazia Vittadini, said:

“With air traffic projected to double every 15 years, it is our duty as an industry to find solutions that ensure sustainable growth with minimal environmental impact. At Airbus, this is our driving force for developing electric and hybrid-electric propulsion technologies. We commend Heathrow Airport’s initiative to jump-start the adoption of hybrid-electric technologies with the launch of the Grand Innovation Prize!”

CEO of easyJet Johan Lundgren, commented: 

“With Heathrow’s announcement today, it is clear they share easyJet’s ambition for a more sustainable aviation industry. We support airports who are encouraging airlines to operate the most sustainable aircraft and welcome this initiative from Heathrow Airport. We already operate the newest generation Airbus Neo aircraft and are partnering with US firm Wright Electric who has the ambitious target of designing an all electric commercial aircraft in the next decade. We firmly believe it is not if, but when, electric commercial aircraft become a reality.” 

Aviation Minister, Liz Sugg, said: 

“The Government is committed to cutting carbon emissions and promoting new environmentally-friendly fuels in transport, including in the aviation industry. Heathrow’s initiative is an innovative programme which will encourage airlines to invest in electric-hybrid aircraft. Our Aviation Strategy will also consider further ways to support the development of cleaner, greener technology in the sector.”

This news follows a commitment made earlier this month to restore UK peatlands. This pilot project will help to offset the airport’s own carbon emissions as part of Heathrow 2.0. Working with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and DEFRA, Heathrow’s first restoration priority will be Little Woolden Moss, part of Chat Moss which is a larger area of peat bog land, west of Manchester. With all of Heathrow’s terminals running on 100% renewable electricity since April 2017 and ongoing upgrades to electrify the airport’s own vehicles, Heathrow is already nearly 60% towards its zero-carbon goal for airport infrastructure.

In the next few months, Heathrow will be publishing its carbon neutral growth roadmap, setting out how the airport can deliver its aspiration for growth from a third runway to be carbon neutral.  Heathrow is already working towards operating carbon neutral airport infrastructure by 2020, a key step towards being zero carbon by 2050, and is also reducing carbon in its supply chain.



In recent years, Heathrow has become a regular recipient of awards. 
Passengers from around the world have once again voted for Heathrow to win major accolades at the 2018 Skytrax World Airport Awards, held yesterday evening at the Passenger Terminal EXPO in Stockholm.  Heathrow’s  Terminal 2 beat international counterparts to win ‘World’s Best Airport Terminal’ for the first time, whilst Terminal 5 is close behind as 4th best globally.
For the 4th year running, Heathrow has been recognised as the ‘Best Airport in Western Europe’ and for the 9th year, ‘Best Airport for Shopping.’
The Awards follow a record-breaking 2017 for Heathrow where investments in facilities, along with the team’s dedication to service, led to the airport’s best annual passenger satisfaction scores and highest number of passengers - 78 million – to date.  
Nearly all (82%) of passengers surveyed in 2017 rated their Heathrow experience as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good.’ Heathrow’s operational team this year has worked to improved flight punctuality so now a record 80.2% of flights depart within 15 minutes of theirscheduled departure.  Passengers in Terminal 5 enjoyed new terminal offers in 2017 like the ‘First Wing’ fast-track, dedicated security lanes to the British Airways’ lounge. 
Heathrow Chief Commercial Officer Ross Baker said:
“To have two of our terminals be voted  amongst the world’s top five is testament to the hard work our team has done to transform Heathrow for the better.
We are tremendously pleased our passengers are not only voting for us through these awards – but also with their feet –  as we saw with this year’s record breaking numbers. 
Going forward, we will continue to invest in Heathrow to give passengers an enjoyable, reliable and affordable journey every time they travel through the airport.”



  • Terminals 2 and 5 top lists of best terminals in the 2018 Skytrax World Airport Awards  

  • Heathrow also awarded ‘Best airport in Western Europe’ and ‘World’s Best Airport Shopping’ 

  • Awards follow year of both record-breaking passenger numbers and satisfaction scores



  • Heathrow reveals new noise metrics and shows noise footprint is at its smallest since tracking started in 2006

  • 15% fewer households affected by noise levels

  • New quarterly ‘Fly Quiet and Green’ league table unveiled, ranking airlines on noise and emission performance from April to June

A new annual noise contour report shows that Heathrow airport’s noise footprint continues to shrink – with over 52,000 fewer households impacted by noise compared to 2006.

Independent analysis from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) commissioned by Heathrow, shows that the average noise contours continue to grow smaller. This analysis, which has been undertaken regularly since 2006, forms part of the airport’s Noise Action Plan and a commitment to deliver more regular and transparent communications to local residents.  This year, in response to community requests, Heathrow has included new metrics in the analysis that look at overflight track density diagrams and single mode contours, making this ‘super report’ the most comprehensive noise contour report ever published by the airport.



Heathrow now has more flights by the giant Airbus A380 to it than any other airport. This is due to the high demand from travellers the world over to come to London to do business (thus boosting the UK economy), or have a holiday and take in the sights of one of the world's most historic cities.


As 'home' airline, British Airways feature strongly as a user of the A380

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