Heathrow falls in list of world’s busiest air­ports

West Lon­don site out of the top five

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Salina Pa­tel

HEATHROW Air­port has dropped three places to sixth po­si­tion in the list of the world’s busiest air­ports.

De­spite hav­ing a record year, wel­com­ing 75 mil­lion pas­sen­gers in 2015, the west Lon­don air­port was over­taken by Dubai In­ter­na­tional Air­port which moved from sixth place to third, ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary traf­fic fig­ures pub­lished by Air­ports Coun­cil In­ter­na­tional (ACI).

It also marks the first time Heathrow has dropped out of the top five spots in more than a decade, how­ever it holds its po­si­tion as Europe’s busiest air­port.

Heathrow is cur­rently fight­ing for ex­pan­sion over Gatwick air­port and says it has dozens of air­lines knock­ing on its door want­ing to fly from a big­ger Heathrow.

Sti­fled by ca­pac­ity over decade, a air­port the past Heathrow spokesper­son said: “Heathrow had a fan­tas­tic 2015 – our col­leagues de­liv­ered the best ser­vice we’ve ever achieved to a record 75 mil­lion pas­sen­gers. But Heathrow is the only ma­jor hub air­port in the world to op­er­ate at 99 per cent ca­pac­ity and we’ve done so for over a decade. The bot­tle­neck in the UK’s hub ca­pac­ity means fewer British ex­ports are get­ting to grow­ing mar­kets and that’s im­pact­ing jobs across Bri­tain.

“With­out an ex­panded Heathrow, the UK will con­tinue to slide down the global league ta­bles.”

Mean­while, At­lanta’s Harts­field-Jack­son held onto its crown as the world’s busiest air­port, grow­ing by 5.5 per cent to reach 101.4m pas­sen­gers, with Bei­jing in sec­ond place, record­ing 89.9m trav­ellers, and Dubai record­ing 78m pas­sen­gers, up 10.7 per cent.

Dubai is also the world’s busiest in terms of in­ter­na­tional pas­sen­gers ahead of Lon­donHeathrow.

An­gela Git­tens, di­rec­tor gen­eral at ACI World, said: “In cer­tain mar­kets, we see both air­lines and air­port op­er­a­tors ex­pand­ing and op­ti­mis­ing their ca­pac­ity in or­der to ac­com­mo­date the grow­ing de­mand for air trans­port.

“Thus, even in the most ma­ture mar­kets, such as the United States and parts of Western Europe, sev­eral of the ma­jor hubs ex­pe­ri­enced year-over-year growth rates in pas­sen­ger traf­fic that were well above the his­tor­i­cal growth lev­els for these re­gions.

“On the other hand, we con­tinue to ob­serve dou­ble-digit growth rates at ma­jor Mid­dle East­ern and Asian hubs serv­ing long haul routes in emerg­ing mar­kets.

“How­ever, air­port ca­pac­ity con­sid­er­a­tions on the sup­ply side within ma­jor city mar­kets will re­main paramount to the is­sue of ac­com­mo­dat­ing the surge in de­mand for air travel.”

The ACI re­port is based on 1,114 air­ports world­wide.

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