Article by Heathrow Airport
With Heathrow full, Britain is slipping behind international competitors. At the start of this year, Heathrow was the best connected airport in the world and the busiest for international passengers. In Q1, Dubai overtook Heathrow for the first time on international passengers. In Q2, Paris overtook Heathrow for the number of long haul destinations served. There are four cities in China where Heathrow connects to but there are eight others that are connected to our European competitors. That means Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam are all better connected than London.
Britain is already feeling the consequences: France has 1,200,000 Chinese tourists arriving by air. The UK has 200,000 – the same as the Dutch, a country a third of its size. Heathrow is the UK’s biggest port by value yet Frankfurt exports six times as much by air to China.
Britain cannot defy economic gravity: fewer connections mean fewer exports and less inward investment. And as long as Britain has fewer flights to China than its European neighbours, the country will continue to fall behind.
Indeed. The government needs to get on with supporting an expanded Heathrow, though this is a little awkward with the selection of Zac Goldsmith as candidate for London mayor.