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Connecting the dots

 

London Heathrow and Frankfurt airports are the two in Europe that will feel the impact of the new US security measures the most.

 

Robert O’Meara, director media and communications, Airports Council International Europe, said there are 59 airports in Europe’s common aviation area that will be hit by the new rules. Between them, the airports will operate 3,684 weekly flights to the US based on the current summer schedule, with Heathrow operating the most, more than double the 353 weekly departures from second-placed Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

 

O’Meara says: “It affects pretty much every country with US bound flights. In Europe the UK is quite strongly affected
as it is a very mature transatlantic market between the UK and the US.”

 

However, while Frankfurt Airport might be in third place with 291 flights, OAG senior analyst John Grant believes it could well fall foul of the new rules thanks to its strength as a hub airport. He argues that hubs with minimum connection times (MCT) of 75 minutes or less will have problems as each airport is forced to “accommodate the increased security, potential handover of a laptop and secondary search processes on connections between Europe and the US”.

 

Of the European hubs, OAG data shows Frankfurt most at risk with 314 MCTs at 75 minutes, followed by Heathrow with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in third place with 100 connections.

 

Grant says: “While that is and may sound incredible, remember, every inbound flight has multiple onward connections. The multiplier effect really multiplies in cases like this.

 

“Of course, for some hubs alternate connecting flights exist to the larger US cities where more than one daily frequency is offered, but the MCT lengthens considerably in many cases.

 

“Quick efficient connections make the hubs work. The shorter the connecting time the better the display on the GDS screens and the faster the run between flights! While the threat of an expanded laptop ban appears to have disappeared for the moment, the potential impact on those tight connections could be very significant.

 

“Short MCTs are brilliant although stressful for all, but in a changing world with potentially increased security measures, many of them disappear. Which for the airlines means either changing the connections and extending the MCTs or accepting that some traffic flows may be lost.”

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