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Performance of Heathrow route is ‘very promising’

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THE performance of the Heathrow route is ‘very promising’ and in line with expectations.

London Heathrow airport. (Shutterstock)

Economic Development has paid Flybe £825,000 to fly the route until October.

There were 2,837 passenger movements on the link in April. If all flights were full there could have been 4,680.

‘Discussions have already commenced with Flybe regarding the continuation of the Heathrow service for the winter 2019/2020 season,’ an Economic Development spokesman said.

Total UK passenger movements for April were 56,615, up from 53,102 the year before but still down on the 57,679 in 2017.

There have been concerns expressed about the impact of subsidising Heathrow on the States-owned Aurigny’s profitable Gatwick route.

While very similar numbers were carried this April as they were on that route the year before, just over 27,000, there has been less growth between March and April than previously seen.

An Aurigny spokesman said: ‘While we hope that the Heathrow route does lead to market expansion, Aurigny’s belief is that the expansion seen in April is simply a reflection of the late Easter this year. Our Midlands and Northern routes were up 9% in April, Flybe’s Exeter route was up 20%. So, whilst a 5% growth in the market is welcome, it needs to be considered within the context of those Easter dates.’

The airline also warned that revenues on Gatwick failed to meet budget in April.

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It hopes to see some market recovery in the Southampton and Jersey routes from June onwards to reflect its new operation to those destinations.

Numbers flying the Stansted route were slightly up in April year-on-year, from 2,155 to 2,244, but still down on 2017 when 2,302 passengers were carried.

There has been an overall increase in total passenger movements through the airport so far this year of 7,572, 3.4%, to 230,007. Year-to-date UK passenger movements are up by 6,449 (3.6%), and all London routes are up by 4,372 passenger movements (4.1%).

But travel in the early part of last year was marred by fog disruption, high winds, snow and fog.

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