Heathrow flights are already at 2013 levels

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Passenger flights taking off and landing at Heathrow have already reached the British Airports Authority projection for the year 2013, it emerged yesterday.

Passenger flights taking off and landing at Heathrow have already reached the British Airports Authority projection for the year 2013, it emerged yesterday.

Campaigners against a controversial fifth terminal at the airport say the figures show BAA's claim, that a new terminal could accommodate 30 million more passengers a year without a substantial increase in flights, is bogus.

In submissions to the Terminal Five public inquiry - which has yet to reach a decision - BAA estimated if terminal five was built the number of flights at Heathrow would peak in 2013 at 453,000 per year. This estimate was made in 1995 at the beginning of the inquiry.

But Dermot Cox, of Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (Hacan/ClearSkies), says thatfigures they have now obtained from BAA show that figure was reached in July 2000 and is likely to keep increasing although Heathrow "slots" are now, in theory, full.

"Now everyone can seeBAA's case has been fatally discredited." he said. "BAA lives in a fantasy world."

BAA told the inquiry an increase in average aircraft size would boost passenger numbers without an increase in flight numbers. But British Airways, like some other airlines, has changed its commercial strategy to use more frequent smaller aircraft to capitalise on the business passenger trade.

BAA is believed to have recently revised its estimate for the number of flights if Terminal Five was built, to 475,000 a year. Hacan/ClearSkies say its estimate is much higher at 550-600,000 flights, with 100 plus million passengers per year.

A BAA Heathrow spokes-man said the number of flights at Heathrow had grown quicker than anticipated.

"We still believe our forecast of around 473,000 for the total number of flights with terminal five is broadly right. A wide range of forecasts were produced at the inquiry by both BAA and objectors."

Some 96 per cent of the 22,500 submissions to the inquiry were against the new terminal.

Comments