London Calling! More slots available in summer 2019 despite increasing capital congestion

As one of the most constrained areas in Europe, the London airports are always a challenge for airlines to gain access or increase operations. With five airports in the London area designated as IATA Level Three – Coordinated –  where slot demand significantly exceeds capacity, including Europe’s busiest International airport (London Heathrow) and Europe’s busiest single-runway airport (London Gatwick), slot allocation specialist ACL acknowledges that “capacity has become a scarce resource that is depleting fast”.

In support of continued increasing demand, ACL says the airports in the London will still manage to increase runway capacity for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) northern hemisphere summer 2019 scheduling period that will run from 31-Mar-2019 to 26-Oct-2019. It reveals that 31 extra daily slots have been released for the seven months, which may only be equivalent to 0.6% of daily slots, but will provide important growth opportunities.

Our analysis of OAG schedule data for the London airports shows that scheduled commercial departure capacity from the UK capital has grown by more than a quarter since 2010, a CAGR of +2.9%. In total, 21 million additional annual seats have been introduced to the market from London during that timescale, growing to a record 106 million for the current year, the third successive year the 100 million departure seat figure has been surpassed.

Our analysis also shows that the average aircraft departure from London airports has grown in size by +7.6% this decade from an average of 174 seats in 2010 to 187 seats this year. This upgauge in capacity has been seen across all airports with Gatwick again seeing the largest rise, a +14.1% increase from 161 seats to 187 seats.

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