The expansion at Heathrow, which has been given the go-ahead today, is expected to bring not only a boost to the economy but also greater connectivity and fewer delays for passengers, according to experts.
The London airport has previously told MailOnline Travel that there will be 12 new routes to destinations that are currently not being served as well as direct flights to 30 or so destinations that were only accessible via indirect flights.
But perhaps even more importantly for cash-strapped holidaymakers, it would mean savings of as much as £300 on the cost of your ticket.
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The London airport has previously told MailOnline Travel that there will be 12 new routes to destinations that are currently not being served as well as direct flights to 30 or so destinations that were only accessible via indirect flights
The proposal is to have a third runway at London Heathrow, although the exact positioning is yet to be confirmed
According to an early estimate by Frontier Economics, who worked with Heathrow on the expansion plans, the average cost of a return ticket could be £300 less by 2030 thanks to increased competition between the airlines.
The possibility of lower fares has already been confirmed by Easyjet, who told MailOnline Travel in 2015 that they would expect to schedule around 150 flights a day from Heathrow following the expansion.
This means around 19 extra routes plus an increase in competition on 48 other European routes.
Annually, this means around 30,000 to 55,000 flights from Easyjet alone will depart from Heathrow.
In a statement issued to MailOnline Travel on Tuesday, the carrier said: ‘Easyjet supports the Government’s decision in favour of expansion at Heathrow Airport as this will provide the greatest passenger and economic benefits for the UK.
There are currently two runways at Heathrow. A third runway would mean a new terminal would need to be built
THE 40 CITIES AN EXPANDED HEATHROW WOULD SERVE WITH DIRECT FLIGHTS
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‘Expanding Heathrow will benefit all parts of the UK and all passengers – business and leisure, long and short haul – and will also deliver lower fares for short haul passengers by opening up the airport to increased competition.’
Carolyn McCall, CEO of Easyjet, commented on the decision: ‘This is good news for UK consumers and businesses and will help ensure that the UK is better connected to the rest of the world.
‘With the right charging structure and the right infrastructure for our efficient model, Easyjet plans to operate from Heathrow, in addition to our existing London bases, providing new routes and lower fares to customers.’
Dale Keller, Chief Executive at the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, told MailOnline Travel: ‘We agree with the statement by the Secretary of State for Transport that to benefit passengers and the UK, expansion must be the right scheme at the right cost and not expansion at any cost.
‘A bigger and better Heathrow will present new route opportunities for airlines and greater choice for passengers.
‘As we commence engagement with the CAA and Heathrow Airport on how the runway will be financed and delivered, airlines will keep passenger needs front of mind.
‘We do not agree that today’s passengers should pay towards tomorrow’s infrastructure before they can use it.’
There will be a number of new direct routes served via Heathrow.
For example, there will be 40 new long haul destinations that will offer direct flights to Heathrow – up from the 82 served at the moment.
These include Quito in Ecuador, Nanjing in China and Durban in South Africa.
Regional flights will also be doubled from eight to 16, connecting the capital to smaller airports in the UK.
Overall, it will mean up to 745,000 flights taking off from Heathrow in a year.
Brian Strutton, British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) General Secretary, said: ‘Heathrow’s expansion will benefit not only holidaymakers and business travellers in the South East, but the whole of the UK.
‘As well as increasing travel from abroad, a prime reason to expand Heathrow is the improved inter-connectivity here.
‘Ensuring that the UK’s biggest hub airport is connected to Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, Prestwick and Durham Tees Valley will open up many more connection possibilities for people and businesses in the regions and nations of the UK, and open up the world to more of this country too.
‘The increase in tourism and jobs as a result of expansion will also be a welcome boost to our economy.’
But, experts says that an expansion at Heathrow alone is not enough.
HEATHROW EXPANSION: THE BACKGROUND
Britain’s government gave the go-ahead Tuesday to build a new runway at London’s Heathrow airport despite concerns about air pollution, noise and the destruction of homes in the capital’s densely populated western neighborhoods.
The decision comes after years of discussion, study and outrage over the building of the first full runway in the southeast of the country since World War II.
Theresa May’s government, reeling from a vote to leave the European Union, was anxious to prove the country was ‘open for business’ but detractors described it as ‘catastrophic.’
The government rejected other options to expand airport capacity, including the extension of an existing runway at Heathrow or building a second runway at Gatwick Airport, south of London.
The decision is only the first step, though. The government’s recommendation will be studied further and Parliament will vote in about a year.
Entire communities will be leveled, and the government said that compensation and mitigation could cost 2.6 billion pounds ($3.2 billion). But the government was unmoved by the concerns.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘The step that government is taking today is truly momentous.
The decision on Tuesday is only the first step. The government’s recommendation will be studied further and Parliament will vote in about a year
‘I am proud that after years of discussion and delay this government is taking decisive action to secure the U.K.’s place in the global aviation market.’
He added: ‘This is an important issue for the whole country.
‘That is why the government’s preferred scheme will be subject to full and fair public consultation.’
London and southeastern England need more airport capacity to meet the growing demands of business travelers and tourists.
Heathrow and rival Gatwick, 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of central London, had offered competing projects that will cost as much as 18.6 billion pounds ($29.1 billion).
But those in the pathways of the bulldozers don’t see why their homes should be sacrificed, even if the country might need capacity.
The issue was so toxic that politicians created an independent commission to weigh the options — and it had decided to expand Heathrow.
It is up to political leaders and lawmakers to make the final decision, and authorities had stalled for months. The upheaval prompted by Britain’s vote to leave the EU pushed the issue back further.
A furious public relations battle has raged, with placards all over London’s subway system, for example, extolling the virtues of Heathrow or Gatwick.
The commission had already rejected other options, such as one backed by former London Mayor Boris Johnson to build a new airport in the Thames Estuary.
Source: Associated Press
According to flight compensation company EUclaim, British travellers flying out of Heathrow or Gatwick are at a huge disadvantage when compared to those travelling through some airports in continental Europe.
Their stats reveal how those flying from the two London airports are three times more likely to be delayed than those travelling from Amsterdam Schipol or Frankfurt where there are five and four runways respectively.
Adeline Noorderhaven, UK Manager of EUclaim, explained: ‘The reason that London Heathrow has such a high percentage of delays compared to its European counterparts is because it’s functioning on two runways whilst Frankfurt and Amsterdam have four and five respectively.
‘The proposed third runway will make a huge difference to air passengers, lessening the chance of delay and the need to claim flight delay compensation; we believe it is a very positive step.’
She added: ‘Being a network airport connecting between smaller regional locations and the rest of the world, it is crucial that London Heathrow allows passengers to make their connecting flights and travel smoothly.
Some have said that one new runway is not enough and more are needed for UK to compete with European hubs
‘However, this currently is not the case. What we are seeing at the moment is that passengers can miss their connecting flight by just 15 minutes and as a result can incur a delay of more than 24 hours to their final destination.
‘Global airports, such as Istanbul and Dubai, are growing in an attempt to take over network connections and draw people away from Europe.
‘Rather than arguing about a third runway, we should be planning a fourth to stand any chance of competition.
‘When looking at the global developments within the aviation industry we expect that by the time the third runway is complete, Heathrow will still not be able to provide that pivotal network operation needed for growing number of international travellers.’
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling makes a statement on airport expansion in the House of Commons on Tuesday
Her sentiments are echoed by UKinbound, a leading trade association that represents over 370 UK tourism businesses.
Deirdre Wells OBE, UKinbound’s chief executive officer, said: ‘The UK’s tourism industry is predicted to continue its rapid growth as a key destination for leisure and business travellers.
‘Given this, we ask the Government to develop a transport infrastructure to match demand and that a second runway at London Gatwick not be dismissed in the long-term.’
Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary said he wanted to see not one but three new runways at London airports.
In a statement, he said: ‘This piecemeal approach to runway infrastructure in the south east is damaging British tourism and the competitiveness of London airports. ‘
‘Approving a third runway at Heathrow over Gatwick is not the way forward. London now benefits from three competing airports, and three large competing airlines (BA, Easyjet and Ryanair) and the best way to deliver additional runways in a timely and cost efficient manner is to approve three additional runways, one each at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
‘The threat of additional runways at competitor airports will force Heathrow to keep its costs down while developing a third runway in the most timely and efficient manner,’ he added.
But while there are obvious benefits to the expansion, experts warn changes are likely to take some time.
John Grant, Senior Analyst at aviation data specialists OAG, told MailOnline Travel: ‘Don’t expect anything to change quickly, we are still at least a decade away from any increase in capacity at Heathrow and that is being optimistic.
‘In the short term things will be very much as they are today, in fact, we may see some air fares rise as available capacity becomes increasingly scarce and the cost of developing the new Heathrow infrastructure is passed on by the airlines to their passengers.
‘We shouldn’t expect any improvement in the on time performance of services from Heathrow either in the short-term, recent OAG data has highlighted the challenges of squeezing the current capacity into the airport and as frustrating as they are many of those late arrivals or waits for a gate to park on for passengers may remain with us for some time.’