UK's BAA Director, Mike Forster stated London Heathrow’s lack of a third runway will cost the UK economy GBP1 billion every year it is not built and the airport is currently loosing out on business to European airports such as Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam Schiphol and Frankfurt (ttglive, 01-Oct-09). Mr Forster stated that no viable alternative proposal to the third runway has been made.
Heathrow's constraints 'lose UK £1bn a year'
You may also be interested in the following articles...
Air Astana Part 1: Kazakhstan flag carrier increases focus on transit traffic as profits drop
Kazakhstan’s Air Astana is increasing its focus on sixth freedom transit traffic as part of a new strategy aimed at capitalising on its low cost structure and geographic position at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. More transit traffic is necessary to unlock a new phase of growth and reduce its reliance on its home market.
Air Astana has nearly doubled its transit traffic over the past year in response to challenging market conditions in Kazakhstan. The Kazakhstan economy has weakened significantly as oil prices have collapsed, leading to rapid currency devaluation that has impacted Air Astana’s top line. The airline’s revenues have fallen 25% since 2013 while passenger traffic has been relatively flat.
Increased sixth freedom traffic, slower expansion and reduced costs have enabled the airline to maintain profitability. A further and bigger transit traffic push is risky but should drive improved scale, a resumption of growth, and a stronger long-term position – which in turn will make Air Astana more attractive as it revisits long-delayed IPO plans.
Chinese long haul secondary city air routes: BA's Chengdu exit does not reflect the broader market
The fastest long haul airline growth is not occurring with Gulf airlines but rather, with services to and from secondary Chinese cities. It is not a secret that local incentives and subsidies, generally common in any market, are especially large in price and duration for secondary Chinese cities. An airline might expect over a third of revenues to be subsidised. This drastically alters the business case in a low-margin industry, hence the proliferation of secondary city services. This extreme dependence on subsidies raises the question of how long governments are willing to issue generous subsidies, and how many routes can be sustainable without them.
British Airways' decision to exit its only secondary Chinese route to Chengdu, in Jan-2017, might suggest the music is ending and the secondary long haul bubble is popping. There is added colour given the recent UK-China air service agreement expansion, and Brexit/British pound depreciation overhangs.
BA's exit does confirm market fundamentals: secondary city yields are low, and some routes are ahead of their time. Yet a number of factors unique to British Airways suggest caution in concluding that BA's Chengdu exit could foreshadow other withdrawals.