Easyjet and Ryanair To Operate From Heathrow If Third Runway Is Built

A third runway is currently on the cards to be built at Heathrow Airport. The third runway would significantly increase capacity in a market that is already at capacity. While Gatwick it reportedly looking to open up its backup runway to help increase capacity. EasyJet’s Cheif Commercial and Strategy Officer told MPs prior to a vote that the third runway could bring a significant improvement to passenger’s options.

Heathrow Low-Cost Airlines

Currently, Heathrow doesn’t host low-cost airlines. This is due to the unique layout of airports around London offering capacity. Cities like Frankfurt have one major airport. As such any airline which wants to service the destination doesn’t really have a choice. By contrast, London has 6 major airports servicing it:

  • Heathrow;
  • Gatwick;
  • Stansted;
  • Luton;
  • City;
  • Southend.
easy jet heathrow
There are 6 major airports dotted around London. Source: GCMap

As such, due to the full capacity of Heathrow, low-cost airlines have been forced to use the city’s secondary airports. Robert Carey, EasyJet’s Cheif Commercial and Strategy Officer, believes the capacity added by a third runway would be a boon for low-cost airlines. Due to the airline’s significantly lower costs, Mr Carey believes that low fares offered from Heathrow would bring the whole country significant economic benefits.

“EasyJet’s costs are significantly lower than legacy airlines so EasyJet’s fares on these services would be lower than those paid by passengers today. Expansion at Heathrow will bring significant economic benefits to all of the UK and that’s why we urge MPs to support the government’s national planning statement so that work can start to increase the aviation capacity for the UK”

Following construction of a third runway at Heathrow, EasyJet would look to start flying from the airport.

Would Ryanair Join?

While Ryanair has yet to comment on whether they would fly to Heathrow, on the face it seems unlikely. Heathrow currently charges significant landing fees, something which Ryanair famously dislikes. In fact, it is estimated that three landings by an A320 sized aircraft each day costs around £1,000,000 over the course of a year. While this is the case, however, It wouldn’t be the first time Ryanair has flown to a major airport. Ryanair now flies to Frankfurt’s main airport. This is in addition to Frankfurt Hahn, the secondary airport two hours away in a different federal state.

With Ryanair’s biggest hub being at London’s Stansted airport, it is likely that the airline wouldn’t start operations to and from Heathrow. However, the airline has been known to do outrageous things for publicity before. By Contrast, given the keen words from EasyJet, it is likely that the airline would jump on the opportunity to establish flights from Heathrow.

easy jet heathrow
Heathrow’s third runway is expected to be fully operational by 2028. Photo: Heathrow

Do you think low-cost airlines will start flying from Heathrow after a third runway is built? Let us know in the comments below!