Why a hub airport is important
As the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow is a national asset. Put simply, a hub pools demand to create greater benefits for all.
Only six airports in the world have regular flights to over 50 long haul destinations – with 82 it shows how unique and valuable Heathrow is for Britain.
Leisure and business passengers can access more than 80 different airlines to over 180 destinations in 85 countries.
With expansion, up to 40 new direct long-haul routes can be created.
How does a hub work?
A hub works by combining domestic flight demand with London, long-haul, business and transfer passenger demand, as well as freight, to make more routes and flights viable for all.
That is why four out of five of all UK long haul flights are from Heathrow. It’s also why long-haul routes at other London airports have struggled to become sustainable.
By pooling passengers and freight, space capacity is filled on aircraft which makes more flights a viable business option for airlines.
The additional route then helps UK business access new markets an creates more opportunities for trading.
38 other UK airports have backed expansion at Heathrow, recognizing the value of a potential domestic connection to the UK’s hub.
What aren’t two hubs better than one??
Hubs work by pooling regional demand from leisure passengers, international transfer passengers, business passengers and freight to make more routes and regular flights viable. Two hubs don’t work as they split this demand, making fewer routes and flights viable for all.
More recently, the arrival of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been mentioned as a “hub-buster” due to its long-range capabilities and fuel efficiency – the reality is they’re actualy “hub builders”.
Of the current orders for this aircraft type, 87% are from network carriers who fly long-haul, many from Heathrow, as they’re still reliant upon the pooled demand a hub provides to make flights viable.
The strength of a hub for the UK economy can be seen in the Airports Commission estimate that expansion at Heathrow will create up to £211bn in economic benefits and 180,000 jobs across the UK, compared to Gatwick expansion which would create up to £127bn in economic benefits and only up to 49,800 jobs.