Keep It Local: Support For Regional Airport Expansion Flying High

Keep It Local: Support For Regional Airport Expansion Flying High

Support for expansion at regional airports to ease the demand for extra flight capacity in the UK is on the increase, reveals the World Travel Market 2014 Industry Report released today (Monday 3 November).

The report reveals that, among the 84% of UK holidaymakers who believe the UK needs greater airport capacity, expanding regional airports is the preferred solution, with 39% citing this option.

That compares to 16% of holidaymakers in favour of capacity expansion at Heathrow; 13% in favour of expansion at Gatwick and 13% in favour of building a new airport in London. A further 16% believe no extra capacity is needed, while 3% say another alternative, such as expanding both Heathrow and Gatwick airports, is the best option.

The move towards regional expansion shows a shift in attitude from a year ago, when expansion at Heathrow was the clear favourite among respondents.

Among the UK’s senior executives, nine out of ten (89%) consider that the UK needs greater aviation capacity, an increase on 2013 figures. Industry representatives are almost equally split between expanding Heathrow and existing regional airports, with 31% opting for Heathrow and 30% opting for regional airport expansion.

A further 15% believe Gatwick expansion is the best solution; 11% would prefer a new airport to be built in London; 11% believe no extra airport capacity is required at Gatwick, while 3% say another solution is the best option.

The increased support from both holidaymakers and the travel industry follows on from a massive expansion in capacity from regional airports. Thomson and First Choice, for example, recently announced they will increase summer 2015 capacity at UK regional airports through the introduction of 29 new routes and further weekly flights for existing routes.
Furthermore, at Edinburgh Airport, Ryanair is planning to expand and Etihad Airways is to launch a daily Edinburgh to Abu Dhabi service from June 2015.

World Travel Market, Senior Director, Simon Press said: “The fact that more holidaymakers are thinking about alternatives to Heathrow expansion shows there is still much to be debated on the issue of aviation capacity. Regional expansion is certainly becoming more popular among both the industry and airport users.

“It’s perhaps not surprising. As tour operators have expanded their product range and airlines have added more services from airports around the country, the customer has begun to reap the benefits of greater choice and convenience.

World Travel Market polled 1,011 UK holidaymakers – people who had been on at least one seven night holiday either in the UK or abroad in 2014, and 1,229 senior travel industry executives.

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About World Travel Market

World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.

More than 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.

WTM, now in its 35th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals.

WTM 2013 generated more than £2 billion of travel industry contracts, revealed independent research by Fusion Communications.

WTM is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions (RE), which organises a other portfolio’s of travel industry events including IBTM Events, the world’s leading showcases for the meetings and events industry and International Luxury Travel Market events.

In 2013, RE held more than 500 events in 40 countries bringing together more than six million people from around the world generating billions of dollars in business.

Reed Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 21 international events in 14 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa.

Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.

RTE is part of Reed Exhibitions.