Which is the best hub airport for Britain? An amusing but well-argued article has ruffled a few feathers by suggesting that it isn’t London Heathrow, but another airport entirely – in another country.
It’s Amsterdam Schiphol, contends writer Tom Forth, who also argues cogently that other UK cities would work better than Heathrow, based on their rail and air access.
For example: You can get a direct train to Manchester Airport from almost every city in the north of England, from stations in a good chunk of north Wales and from the two biggest cities in Scotland. There’s even a tram from Manchester Airport to most parts of Greater Manchester.
Heathrow only has one train line to London.
Also, you can fly to just seven cities in the UK from Heathrow. From Amsterdam Schiphol? To 24 airports in the UK.
Forth writes that BAA’s campaign to persuade the world to expand Heathrow Airport has been based on one major assumption: that the UK needs a hub airport, and that Heathrow is it.
Forth then provides six “very big reasons to think that Heathrow isn’t the UK’s hub airport at all”.
Apart from the fact that you can get a train to Heathrow from just one UK city; London, you can fly directly to just seven places in the UK from Heathrow.
“From Manchester you can fly to 13. How can Heathrow be a hub airport if you can’t use it as a hub?”
Manchester may be better connected to the UK than Heathrow but Amsterdam Schiphol easily beats them both, Forth argues.
He concludes, a trifle mischievously, that the best option to fly to the world from most places in the UK is to fly via Amsterdam.
“The data proves it,” he says.
Forth has done a lot of research, much of it helped by Google.
For those interested in seeing his reasoning (along with some good diagrams), try here:
Written by Peter Needham