Heathrow rediscovers the regions

Heathrow has announced a package of measures to boost links between the UK regions and to reverse “a lost decade” in which regional connections to long-haul markets have been squeezed out of the UK’s hub airport.
The owners of London’s main gateway admit that, at the moment, Amsterdam Schiphol airport has more links to the UK and its regions than Heathrow and Gatwick airports combined and that the Netherlands’ main airport has gained traffic as a result.
The measures include a review of airport charges to help keep existing domestic routes commercially attractive, a new Heathrow Route Development Fund offering £10m of start-up capital for airlines to support five new routes for three years.
It will also partner with UK airports, local enterprise partnerships, chambers of commerce, national and regional governments to work with airlines to establish new domestic routes through Heathrow. It also promises to work with any organisation that wants to operate Northolt as a satellite runway for UK routes until Heathrow is expanded.
The commitments announced are in line with the recommendations of the National Connectivity Task Force, set up in May 2014 on how connectivity between the UK regions and the major airports in the South East can be enhanced.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Expanding Heathrow could deliver close to 80,000 jobs and up to £114bn of GDP outside London and the South East. We have been listening to businesses, politicians and now to the National Connectivity Task Force.”

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