Dubai to overtake Heathrow as world’s busiest international airport
Speaking at a recent conference in Ireland, Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways parent IAG, claimed that the UK’s unwillingness to build any additional runways at London Heathrow meant that, by 2015, Dubai International Airport (DXB) will have overtaken Heathrow as the world’s busiest international airport. The London hub is currently the world’s third busiest airport in terms of overall passenger numbers (behind Atlanta & Beijing) but has been the busiest airport in the world in terms of international passenger numbers for quite some time now. Mr Walsh went on to say that not only would Dubai claim the number 1 position in the next 2 years but that in the next 10 years Heathrow would fall out of the top 5 and in 20 years would drop out of the top 30 of the world’s busiest international airports. British Airways accounts for just under 50% of available slots at Heathrow.
Heathrow experiences record number of passengers in March
Although Mr Walsh’s comments are hard to argue with, in the short term at least Heathrow airport has just announced its busiest ever March figures with passenger traffic for the month up 3.9% on March 2012. Passenger numbers were up almost across the board (exceptions being Greece & Africa) with traffic to China increasing a massive 15.1%, the Middle East 9.2%, Europe 7.4%, Latin America & India both 3.9%, Russia 3.0% & North America 1.4%. In total, Heathrow saw some 5.9 million passenger in March (annual total approx 70 million) with an increase in both load factors (75.8%) and average seats per departure (199.3) – the increase in seats per departure is partly down to British Airways takeover of bmi in 2012 and the resultant use of larger aircraft on more longhaul flights.
Willie Walsh speaks out in favour of further airline consolidation
Speaking at the same CAPA conference in Ireland (see first article) Willie Walsh made clear his support for further airline consolidation; this in the same week that IAG made a final, approved bid for Spanish low cost carrier Vueling. He went on to claim that airline alliances, such as Oneworld of which British Airways is a lead member, were poor substitutes for full airline mergers. “The alliance gives you good revenue synergies, but consolidation gives you cost and revenue synergies,” Walsh said.
British Airways first Dreamliner gets a paint-job
Although no dates have been given for its delivery, nor any indication as to the routes it will fly, photos have emerged of British Airways first Boeing 787 as its receives a paint-job at the Boeing plant in Everett, Washington. The 787 has been grounded around the world since January due to problems with the aircraft’s state of the art batteries although test flights have now resumed and existing customer are hopeful of being able to re-launch flights by the end of May.
British Airways signs deal with golf star Justin Rose
In the week of the Augusta Masters, British Airways has signed a three year deal with British golfer Justin Rose to support the company’s global marketing activity. The golfer will appear in campaigns promoting British Airways golfing holidays as well as supporting the airline’s charity initiative, Flying Start. The airline’s logo will appear on the golfer’s kit, starting with the Masters where he carded a 2 under par for his opening round.