London is outstripping all world cities as an aviation hub. It debunks the capacity crunch myth. Far from Britain declining as an aviation superpower, the capital’s global lead over every other city in the world is increasing.
Despite the “capacity crunch” at the capital’s airport, figures compiled by The Independent reveal that London remains the world’s top airline hub by a wide margin – and is racing ahead of its closest rival, New York.
A record 144.7m passengers flew through London’s five commercial airports in 2014. The figure translates to an average of 275 people – or one wide-bodied aircraft – arriving or departing every minute of every day of the year. The capital is 23 per cent ahead of New York, which has three airports.
The Independent has analysed passenger figures for the 20 key aviation cities, aggregating the traffic for all airports serving each metropolis. London’s catchment comprises Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City. Flight movements at Heathrow have reached their effective limit at 1,290 per day, and the airport’s passenger figures are now dwarfed by Atlanta and Beijing. Yet Heathrow grew 1.7 per cent thanks to larger aircraft. Combined with rapid growth at the capital’s other airports, London put on almost seven million passengers during the year, a rise of 5 per cent.
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