Which airlines have the most take off and landing slots at London Heathrow Airport?
We have had a lot of dicussion on HfP in recent weeks about whether regulatory agencies should lift the 80/20 slot rules for congested airports. We thought, to put all this discussion in context, we’d look at how take-off and landing slots are actually distributed at Heathrow.
We have taken the data from the Airport Coordination Ltd report from November 2019 – this is data for the Summer 2020 season which runs from late March until late October.
Under the list we analyse the numbers further by airline alliance. Flybe is still on the list because it was drawn up in November 2019.
Here are the 25 airlines with the most slots at Heathrow:
‘Slots held’ is the total weekly number of individual slots for Summer 2020. Two slots are required per flight. Virgin Atlantic, for example, has 338 slots which equals 169 return flights per week.
|Airline||Slots held||% of total|
Unsurprisingly, British Airways comes out on top with over 50% of all slots allocated. This is an order of magnitude more than Lufthansa which has a meagre 5.3% in comparison!
Virgin Atlantic has only 3.5%, which puts its comparatively small size into perspective.
Let’s take a look at alliances. Looking at the top 25 airlines, oneworld comes out on top with 57% of the slot allocation.
Star Alliance trails with 14% whilst SkyTeam is barely in the same league with just over 5% of the total.
All data below is based only on the top 25 slot holders.
Heathrow slot allocations by airline alliance:
The numbers look very different when you take British Airways out of the equation:
Heathrow slot holders by alliance, without British Airways:
In such a scenario, Star Alliance has more than double the slots of its competitors.
The numbers vary again when you take into consideration Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic, who are not officially part of an alliance but are quite strongly affiliated with one. Aer Lingus, for example, is oneworld focussed given its ownership by IAG. Virgin Atlantic is a SkyTeam partner in all but name thanks to its joint ventures with Delta, Air France and KLM:
Heathrow slot allocations based on alliance and core partnerships:
Star Alliance remains unchanged whilst the inclusion of Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic give oneworld and SkyTeam a boost.
There is lots of other interesting information in the Airport Coordination report. For example, on page 4 you can see who gained slots for Summer 2020. The few new slots allocated went to China Southern (2 return flights per week), Shenzen Airlines (1 flight per week), Norwegian (3 flights per week), Virgin Atlantic (1 flight per week) and Tunisair (2 flights per week). In the end, of course, coronavirus meant that these slots were never taken up.