Gatwick’s claim that the B787 Dreamliner threatens hub-and-spoke air networks has met a fierce response from Heathrow.Announcing the touchdown of its first B787 today, Gatwick described the new aircraft as "hub-busting".
For Gatwick, the new model – along with A350s – heralds a shift towards point-to-point travel, at the expense of hub networks where feeder flights gather demand for long-haul routes. "Airlines, which plan decades ahead, are investing heavily in these new generation long-range aircraft and moving away from the traditional ‘hub and spoke’ model that generates transfer passengers," said Gatwick. But a spokesperson at Heathrow – the UK’s key air hub – denied that the new aircraft spells doom for traditional air networks. "B787s are great aircraft but they don’t change fundamental airline business models," the spokesperson told Routes News. "That’s why Gatwick’s first B787 will be operated by the UK’s largest charter airline flying to leisure destinations such as Menorca and Cancun, while the B787s at Heathrow are flying to long-haul business destinations such as Doha, New Delhi, and Addis Ababa. In fact, almost 90% of Boeing 787 orders are from network airlines operating a hub model." As London’s airports compete for approval to expand, Gatwick and Heathrow have already clashed over the future shape of air networks. While Heathrow sees a hub model as vital to the UK’s connectivity, Gatwick has attacked what it describes as Heathrow’s "mega-hub model". Gatwick sees its flights to Moscow, China and Vietnam as proof that long-haul connections to key emerging markets can survive without hubbing. But a Heathrow spokesperson told Routes News earlier that its model ensures better links. "Hub airports use transfer passengers to support long-haul routes which otherwise wouldn’t be viable," said the spokesperson. "That's why Heathrow flies to more than 70 long-haul destinations which Gatwick doesn't. Having a successful hub is good for passengers, good for business and good for the UK."Source: routesnews, Piers Evans
Gravity always wins!