London loses status as world’s capital of aviation - GulfToday

London loses status as world’s capital of aviation


Image only for representation

Gulf Today Report

At one time Heathrow airport was the busiest airport in the world. But now that prestigious status has been given a dent — by Paris Charles de Gaulle — due to a decline in global air travel.

UK aviation suffered a further blow when British Airways said it would reduce its flight schedule due to coronavirus restrictions.

Little wonder then, after decades as the world’s leading city for aviation, London has lost its crown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.


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With Heathrow, and the world’s busiest single-runway airport Gatwick, the capital handled 126.5 million passengers in 2019 – more than any other city.

Once Stansted, Luton, London City and Southend were added, the UK’s biggest metropolis looked unassailable, with tens of millions more passengers annually than any other city.

Heathrow Airport
Image only for representation

“Far from Britain declining as an aviation superpower, the capital's global lead over every other city in the world is increasing,” The Independent wrote in 2015 – after yet another  year in which London had once again trounced the aviation competition.

But according to the latest figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), London’s connectivity has fallen by two-thirds. It is now in eighth place — behind no fewer than five Chinese cities, as well as two US hubs.

The first four places are taken by Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu, followed by Chicago, Shenzhen — across the internal Chinese border from Hong Kong – and Los Angeles.

In ninth and tenth positions are Dallas and Atlanta.

New York, Tokyo, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Seoul have dropped out of the top 10.

Sebastian Mikosz, senior vice-president for IATA, said: “The dramatic shift in the connectivity rankings demonstrates the scale at which the world’s connectivity has been re-ordered over the last months.

Picture shown is for illustrative purposes only.

“But the important point is that rankings did not shift because of any improvement in connectivity. That declined overall in all markets. The rankings shifted because the scale of the decline was greater for some cities than others.

 “There are no winners, just some players that suffered fewer injuries. In a short period of time we have undone a century of progress in bringing people together.”

Last month, Heathrow airport reported a slump in business of 82 per cent compared with a year earlier, calling it “the eighth consecutive month of catastrophic decline.”

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