30 top London routes NOT served by Heathrow: FREE anna.aero-RABA conference on Heathrow route propositions

If your airport is on the graph in this article you should be coming to HubLAB, the Heathrow Connectivity Conference. Heathrow Expansion will create hundreds of daily slots and dozens of new routes, including a forecast 40 new long-haul services, and a potential doubling of domestic links. European cities like Bordeaux, Eindhoven, Naples etc. could also connect and feed the Heathrow hub.

anna.aero has teamed up with RABA – the Regional And Business Airports Group of 40 smaller UK airports under three million passengers – to stage HubLAB – the FREE-to-attend Heathrow Connectivity Conference. HubLAB takes place at the Heathrow-hosted British-Irish Airports EXPO at London Olympia 12-13 June 2018 (200 exhibitors, 3,000 visitors). This FREE OF CHARGE event – which also comprises RABA’s Annual Conference – is an important opportunity for airports to find out more about airline plans to provide new services from an expanded Heathrow.

Register Heathrow HubLAB »

A Heathrow easyJet base?

According to easyJet “Heathrow expansion will allow low-cost, short-haul airlines like easyJet to operate – providing more competition, new routes, more services and lower fares.” Robert Carey, Group Director of Strategy & Network, will explain just what easyJet means by this in a Star Presentation. Other airlines coming to explain their growing Heathrow ambitions include:

  • Flybe – Roy Kinnear, CCO;  
  • Aurigny Air Services – Mark Darby, CEO.

Want your airport to take part?

Unsurprisingly, RABA’s 40 airports are strongly in favour of Heathrow Expansion and the airport’s efforts to reconnect to the UK regions. HubLAB is an “open source” business event – a chance for RABA and other airports to present their new route propositions as Heathrow works to expand it slot pool – even ahead of expansion.

Register Heathrow HubLAB »

Airports accepting the chance to present business propositions for new routes to Heathrow include:

  • Heathrow Airport – John Holland-Kaye, CEO;
  • Cornwall Airport Newquay – Al Titterington, MD;
  • Highlands & Islands Airports – Inglis Lyon, MD;
  • …and lots of other airports.

Did we say you can attend for free? We also welcome proposals for further airport and airline presentations. Register and find out more here.

How ambitious are the plans for easyJet’s Heathrow base? Robert Carey, Group Director of Strategy & Network, will explain in an exclusive Star Presentation at the FREE Heathrow Connectivity Conference by the Regional and Business Airports Group (RABA) and anna.aero at the Heathrow-hosted British-Irish Airports EXPO 12-13 June 2018.

The 30 top London routes NOT linked to Heathrow

Meanwhile, in the six weeks remaining before the Heathrow HubLAB conference, anna.aero will take a regular look at where are airlines likely to start new routes to. We start by revealing the top 30 destinations which are linked to one of London’s five other airports serving more than one million passengers (Southend, Stansted, Luton, City  and  Gatwick.   ) but crucially NOT to Heathrow. These 30 destinations, listed in the graph here, represent 10% of the London’s 178 million annual passenger market. Obviously, if your airport is on this table, you should be coming to listen at HubLAB.

Top unserved Heathrow routes

Source: UK CAA. *Runway closed during part of S17 for reconstruction.

The leading unserved market from Heathrow is Belfast International which had just under 1.70 million passengers on non-Heathrow London services in 2017. Traffic on the routes grew by nearly 11% last year, mainly due to Ryanair’s market stimulation by opening a route to Gatwick to directly compete with easyJet. However, while the Gatwick route saw a 15% rise in traffic (982,985 passengers in 2017), both Stansted (up 3.3%) and Luton (9.6%) also observed significant growth, showing that demand from the larger Belfast airport to London is definitely on the up.

Register Heathrow HubLAB »

Heathrow is however connected to Belfast Citywhere traffic is stable at 690,000 passengers, and the Northern Irish airport is also linked to London City with 121,000 passengers in 2017, meaning that Belfast International is the busier of the two Belfast airports, handling 68% of Belfast–London passengers.

OAG: 100,000 already want LHR-Orlando route!!!

Along with Belfast International, only three other top 30 unserved markets (highlighted in light green) are destinations in the UK and Ireland. And only two of the top unserved markets are outside of Europe – Orlando (fourth biggest unserved market) – an airport which witnessed London passenger numbers climb by 2.8% last year, and Cancún,17th. Very significantly, while over 850,000 passengers travelled directly between London and Orlando last year, over 100,000 travelled indirectly to Orlando from Heathrow, based on OAG Traffic Analyser data, with the top connecting airports being Atlanta, Washington Dulles and New York Newark.     

Overall the average passenger growth on the top 30 routes in 2017 was 4.6%. The fastest-growing market last year was Cluj-Napoca, currently only served from Luton by Wizz Air and Blue Air. As well as Cluj-Napoca, other destinations within the top 30 to see double-digit growth last year included Dubrovnik (29%), Porto (16%), Naples (13%), Alicante (13%) and, as already stated, Belfast International (11%). While Cluj-Napoca is mainly a VFR route from London, the Romanian airport does have hub operators. It is linked by Lufthansa to Frankfurt and Munich, while LOT Polish Airlines serves the city from Warsaw Chopin. Cluj-Napoca is not the only airport in the top 30 to already have a hub carrier. The table below shows all the destinations within the top 12 unserved Heathrow routes that also have a hub carrier service this summer. Note that anna.aero has only used hub carriers with operations at airports which have over 42 million passengers. (We also excluded Gatwick due to its proximity to Heathrow.)

Airport (with no LHR service) Non-LHR hub carrier Hub route Weekly flights in S18
Alicante (ALC) Iberia Madrid (MAD) 26
Lufthansa Frankfurt (FRA) 7
KLM Amsterdam (AMS) 8
Orlando (MCO) Lufthansa Frankfurt (FRA) 7
Naples (NAP) 20
Munich (MUC) 20
Iberia Madrid (MAD) 10
Turkish Airlines Istanbul Atatürk (IST) 10
Jersey (JER) Lufthansa Munich (MUC) 1
Porto (OPO) Iberia Madrid (MAD) 21
KLM Amsterdam (AMS) 14
Lufthansa Frankfurt (FRA) 21
Munich (MUC) 7
Turkish Airlines Istanbul Atatürk (IST) 7
Riga (RIX) Lufthansa Frankfurt (FRA) 14
Turkish Airlines Istanbul Atatürk (IST) 7
Valencia (VLC) Iberia Madrid (MAD) 35
Lufthansa Frankfurt (FRA) 21
Munich (MUC) 7
KLM Amsterdam (AMS) 15
Turkish Airlines Istanbul Atatürk (IST) 7
Gdansk (GDN) Lufthansa Frankfurt (FRA) 18
Munich (MUC) 28
KLM Amsterdam (AMS) 14
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data for w/c 16 August 2018.

Register Heathrow HubLAB »

Within the top 30 unserved Heathrow markets, there are a number of airports which are within a city which is also alternatively connected to Heathrow, including Belfast (City), Berlin (Tegel), Rome (Fiumicino), Milan (Linate and Malpensa), Warsaw (Chopin) and Istanbul (Atatürk). However, other London airports are also able to sustain services to more than one airport in these cities, so the potential of these routes wanting to be launched by carriers from an expanded Heathrow is not out of the realms of possibility.

What is certain is that an expanded Heathrow is not just a fight between it and Gatwick, but also with the European mega-hubs of Amsterdam (six runways), Frankfurt (four), Paris CDG (four) and Istanbul Atatürk (two/three), while the latter closes later this year to make way for a brand-new facility with up to six planned runways. When Istanbul New Airport opens in October, it will mean that Heathrow will only have at best half the runway capacity of all Europe’s other leading hubs. This further argues the case not only for Heathrow, but also for the UK to have a major aviation hub that will be able to compete more freely with Europe’s other major hubs. If you would like to hear what plans airlines like easyJet and Flybe have at an expanded Heathrow come to HubLAB, the free anna.aero-RABA  Heathrow Connectivity Conference taking place 12 June at the Heathrow-hosted British-Irish Airports EXPO.

Register Heathrow HubLAB »

European hubs

The case for Heathrow Expansion: Amsterdam, Paris CDG and Frankfurt all have double the amount of runways as London’s leading hub, while Istanbul New Airport, which opens in October, has plans for up to six. To hear the business case for airports and airlines like easyJet and Flybe at an expanded Heathrow, come to HubLAB, the FREE anna.aero-RABA Heathrow Connectivity Conference taking place at the Heathrow-hosted British-Irish Airports EXPO, Olympia London 12 June 2018.


  1. Rory McLoughlin says:

    This article opens up the whole debate about what is the purpose of Heathrow. Heathrow does a great job of serving the flag carriers of many nations to many large hubs across the world. Most if not all of the routes listed as not being served from Heathrow are served from other London airports, and in many cases from Manchester also – providing the Regions with access to these destinations. Manchester also has excellent UK-regional connectivity. If the point of air travel is to reach a destination, then we already have it from London and from the regions via a choice of airports. Why the need to duplicate?

Comments are closed