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4 - Jun - 2014

No increase in airport capacity, no increase in UK economy


When it comes to international business travellers outside of London, and the south east for that matter, Manchester Airport tops the list; next in line is Heathrow, followed by Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow, with Gatwick in eighth and Stansted in 14th positions.  However, according to new research by the GTMC (Guild of Travel Management Companies), from a country-wide point of view, Heathrow tops the list.

The GTMC surveyed over 1,000 business travellers from regions in the UK; 56% of respondents revealed that the most important aspect to their journey was the distance of the airport to their home.  But that statistic was slightly contracted when 50% also said that they could not get to all the markets they needed to because there wasn’t the accessibility at the airports closest to their home, which forces them to use a non-UK hub airport, i.e. Paris or Amsterdam – and this makes their journey quicker!

The reasons why a non-UK hub airport is used that they provided more convenient flight times (34%), and that if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to reach the destinations they needed to (27%).  And when respondents were asked if they would switch to Heathrow if this airport provided flights to more destinations, over a third (34%) said they would do so.  84% wanted more long-haul flight options from regional airports, and as many as 60% asking for those long-haul flights to be direct.

This revealing research, presented at the GTMC’s annual conference, clearly shows that the UK’ regional and main airports are not providing business travellers with the routes to the destinations they are looking for.  What is also apparent is that without an expansion in airport capacity, it is going to be a very difficult job to increase not only the number of routes but also the frequency.  The result will be an impact on the UK economy as it continues to fall short in meeting a traveller’s needs.

Paul Wait, Chief Executive at GTMC, said: “We strongly encourage the government and the Davies Commission decision makers to look at our hub capacity and ensure that regional business travellers are provided with the range of destinations served from the UK where they want to do business.”