Heathrow Expansion – 41 unserved major Latin American routes

Heathrow Expansion, including a third runway, will create the capacity for dozens of new routes, including a potential 40 new long-haul services, and a potential doubling of domestic links. Find out how at the FREE Heathrow Connectivity Conference.

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London Heathrow is connected to fewer Latin American country markets and individual destinations than all of the other major European hubs. That’s the conclusion we make in this analysis of which airports are missing from Heathrow’s route network in the lead-up to the anna.aero-RABA Heathrow HubLAB Conference in London on 12 June.

Heathrow HubLAB is the FREE-to-attend Heathrow Connectivity Conference taking place at the Heathrow-hosted British-Irish Airports EXPO at London Olympia 12-13 June 2018 (154 exhibitors, 3,000 visitors). HubLAB is a joint venture between anna.aero and RABA – the Regional And Business Airports Group of 40 smaller UK airports under three million passengers.

This FREE event is an important opportunity for airports to find out more about airline plans to provide new services from an expanded Heathrow. The Star Presentation will be made by easyJet’s Group Director of Strategy & Network Robert Carey, who will explain the plans for a Heathrow easyJet base.The much-needed feed created by such a base will be highly important to Heathrow’s long-haul airlines.

41 airports/25 countries with no Heathrow flights

Indeed a key benefit of Heathrow Expansion, including a third runway, is to make extra capacity available for new routes to underserved markets. This analysis reveals there are 25 countries and 41 airports across Central and South America, plus the Caribbean, with links to other major European hubs, but no connections to London Heathrow in S18. It also identifies the 12 airports in the region with the most capacity form other competing European hubs, but no direct Heathrow services. (This analysis uses data from countries based on OAG’s classification of Latin America which includes: the Caribbean, Central America, Upper South America and Lower South America). 

To compare Heathrow to the other European mega hubs we normally look at the ‘FLAPI’ airports of Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Amsterdam, Paris CDG and Istanbul Atatürk. But since Madrid is the sixth largest airport in Europe, and a major origin point for Latin America traffic, it was decided to also include the Spanish hub in this analysis, with the new grouping therefore becoming the FLAPIM airports.

The table below shows how the FLAPIM airports compare in terms of connections and S18 capacity to Latin America, along with their capacity growth since S08. The data includes any countries or routes with at least one scheduled flight this summer, although the vast majority of routes are more regular services. Heathrow is connected to six Latin American countries and seven destinations. It is the largest FLAPIM origin airport for just one of these destinations, Nassau, Bahamas.

FLAPIM hub Latin American airports served S18 Latin American countries served S18 O/W seats S18 O/W capacity change since S08
MAD 29 18  2,898,411 38%
CDG 22 14 1,189,980 18%
AMS 18 14 1,072,154 75%
FRA 26 16 737,734 41%
LHR 7 6 478,368 172%
IST 3 3 122,272 N/A
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser S18 and S08. CDG & FRA have some low frequency routes

Heathrow trails Madrid, CDG, Amsterdam and Frankfurt

Heathrow is connected to fewer Latin Amercian country markets and individual destinations than all of the other FLAPIM hubs with the exception of Istanbul Atatürk. Madrid is the leading origin point with 18 countries and 29 airports served this summer, followed by CDG with 14 countries and 22 airports, leaving Heathrow in a distant  fifth-place. Indeed, even it you discounted half a dozen very low-frequency routes offered by Frankfurt and CDG, these competitors would still be ahead with more connections than Heathrow. Furthermore, in volume terms, CDG and Amsterdam will both offer more than twice as many one-way seats to Latin America than Heathrow this summer, while Madrid is way out in front of the London hub with 506% more seats available. Iberia serves 16 of the 29 Latin American destinations available from Madrid this summer. The Spanish national airline is part of International Airlines Group (IAG) along with Heathrow’s dominant carrier, British Airways. It is possible that this has had an influence on Heathrow’s Latin American links, with IAG possibly more focused on its North American services from Heathrow, while driving Latin American traffic through Madrid. IAG is ironically an opponent of the Heathrow Expansion plan, claiming it is too costly; more likely it just doesn’t see the benefits of 50% more slots bringing lots of fresh competition to dilute its dominance. 

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Heathrow witnessed stronger percentage growth than the other FLAPIM hubs in terms of departing Latin American capacity from S08 to S18, but this was from a smaller base. When the net increase in seats over this period is compared, Heathrow saw the third highest level of growth, behind that of Madrid and Amsterdam. 

Missing capital connections

In total, there are 25 Latin American countries and 41 airports with services to at least one FLAPIM hub, but no connections to Heathrow in S18 and the table below lists the top 12 unserved destinations. The largest of these is Havana which is already served from Amsterdam, CDG, Frankfurt, Atatürk and Madrid. Five of the top 12 airports are in South America with four located in the Caribbean and three in Central America. Nine of the airports already have links to more than one FLAPIM hub. Ten of the top airports listed serve capitals.

Destination airport Destination Country FLAPIM links Leading FLAPIM origin O/W seats from FLAPIM S18
Havana (HAV) Cuba AMS, CDG, FRA, IST, MAD MAD 384,694
Lima (LIM) Peru AMS, CDG, MAD MAD 363,861
Panama City (PTY) Panama AMS, CDG, FRA, MAD AMS 245,771
Punta Cana (PUJ) Dominican Republic AMS, CDG, FRA, MAD CDG 226,810
Cancun (CUN) Mexico CDG, FRA, MAD MAD 211,004
Quito (UIO) Ecuador AMS, MAD MAD 170,642
Santo Domingo (SDQ) Dominican Republic FRA, MAD MAD 165,147
Curacao (CUR) Curacao AMS AMS 135,616
Paramaribo (PBM) Suriname AMS AMS 112,050
San Jose (SJO) Costa Rica CDG, FRA, MAD MAD 104,071
Caracas (CCS) Venezuela CDG, MAD MAD 86,554
Montevideo (MVD) Uruguay MAD MAD 81,582
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser S18

A Heathrow easyJet base?

HubLAB, the Heathrow Connectivity Conference, takes place at the Heathrow-hosted British-Irish Airports EXPO at London Olympia 12-13 June 2018 (154 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 »

72 airline delegates have registered for the FREE-OF-CHARGE Heathrow Connectivity Conference from Air Canada, Air India, Air Kathmandu, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Anglia Airways, Asiana Airlines, Atmosphere Intercontinental Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, easyJet, Ethiopian Airlines, Fastjet, Flybe, IAG, Jet2.com, Jet Airways, Korean Air, Loganair, Lufthansa, SAS Ireland, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Shaheen Air International, South African Airways, Stobart Air, TUI Group, Virgin Atlantic Airways, WestJet and World Airways.

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.

Airlines and airports accepting the chance to present business propositions for new routes to Heathrow include:

  • easyJet – Robert Carey,Group Director of Strategy & Network
  • Flybe – Roy Kinnear, CCO;  
  • Aurigny Air Services – Mark Darby, CEO
  • Heathrow Airport – John Holland-Kaye, CEO
  • Cornwall Airport Newquay – Al Titterington, MD
  • Highlands & Islands Airports – Inglis Lyon, MD
  • …and lots of other airports – Eindhoven, Milan Bergamo etc

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

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  1. Kadish says:

    Thanks for including MAD, now we have an overall view.

  2. Peter Gordon says:

    The problem is that many of the destinations would only support one or two frequencies per week. BA is soon to drop Luanda, I suspect because two frequencies per week is inadequate. We have moved away from the route patterns of the 60s & 70s. It would probably make sense to serve many of the destinations with daily frequencies via another hub which could serve all of Europe – MAD is the obvious one, LIS is strong for Brazil. Where LHR is strong is on the North Atlantic where it is a natural hub and recent route launches have generally been successful, precisely because of the ability to attract transfer traffic.

  3. Daniel says:

    Really interesting but would have been good to include a mention of those airports that are served from LGW as a side note.

  4. Matthew Gomez says:

    As Daniel said, some of these places may not be served by Heathrow but I know that BA serves Lima via Gatwick seasonally. The same goes with Havana and Virgin Atlantic.

  5. Kadish says:

    The thing is that the article does not speak about a city and its connections but airports.

Comments are closed