Why LHR says super jumbos are good for airport business

Every 45 seconds an aircraft takes off or lands at one of Heathrow's two runways in London.

Why LHR says super jumbos are good for airport business

Every 45 seconds an aircraft takes off or lands at one of Heathrow’s two runways in London. With 72 million passengers flying in and out every year, it’s the world’s busiest international airport and close to full capacity – and it’s not alone with many airports around the world facing similar capacity challenges.

But the number of people flying worldwide is rising rapidly. So keeping airports running smoothly means getting passengers onto large aircraft like the Airbus A380.

Chris Buckley, Airbus Executive VP Customer Affairs
“We absolutely see the A380 as being the solution for the future. The world really has a major choice, either massive amounts of more airports have to be built or with so many airports right now flying at full capacity you have got to put in larger aircraft. You just have to think in the next 15 years, air traffic is going to double again. By 2040 believe it or not, there will be twice as many people flying as there are in the world today. So you look at airports like Heathrow and elsewhere already flying at capacity and the only solution to make sure everyone can still fly is to fly larger aircraft.”

Heathrow has understood this. Its already one of the biggest homes worldwide for A380 operators. In fact 15 super-jumbos fly in and out of Heathrow every day and this is set to rise with new operators.

John Holland-Kaye, CEO Heathrow Airport
” We have more airlines flying A380s into Heathrow than any other airport in the world, that shows not just how important Heathrow is but how valuable the A380 is for the airlines in connecting key markets around the world, Malaysia, Dubai, British Airways’ fleet with London and the strong market we have around here in London.”

The experience has been shared by other key hubs worldwide. Nearly 40 of biggest cities worldwide are now connected by the A380. It makes sense, for example British Airways used to fly three aircraft to Los Angeles every day. Now by using an A380 it only needs two planes a day for that route and can use its third available slot for other routes. Airlines flying from Asia to Europe have faced the same issue.

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Chris Buckley, Airbus Executive VP Customer Affairs
“The huge way that Airbus can help out airports that are running very close to maximum capacity and there are many of those around the world right now, is to encourage airlines to bring in as many A380s as possible, make the most of your runway capacity, make the most of your terminal capacity and the best way to do that is flying the biggest and most comfortable aircraft that’s out there flying today.”

The A380 also helps airports boost their revenue streams. More passengers means more business and leisure travelers spending money in the restaurants and shops. In return the airports can upgrade their infrastructure and keep landing fees for airlines lower who in return can pass on the savings to the flying public with lower ticket prices.

John Holland-Kaye, CEO Heathrow Airport
“With more passengers being able to fly through on some of the larger planes that means we can make more commercial income for example in the shops where more passengers are spending more money and that is important to us as an airport because it helps us to fund the transformation of Heathrow through rebuilding the airport like terminals like this new Terminal 2 and it helps to keep our landing charges down because we are a single till airport and any commercial income we make allows us to reduce landing fees.”

At the moment there are close to 40 mega cities around the globe. A mega city is defined as one with more than 10,000 long haul passengers per day and includes cities like Singapore, Rio, Nairobi and New York. Within 30 years that number will more than double and those residents will of course travel between mega cities. Airports and airlines understand that in the future the A380 will be the best way of doing it.

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