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Forecasting Airport Demand: Review of UK Airports Commission Forecasts and Scenarios

The Airports Commission was established by the Government of the United Kingdom to take an independent look at the UK’s future airport capacity needs. It was tasked with setting out the nature, scale, and timing of steps needed to maintain the UK’s status as an international hub for aviation, setting out recommendations on how to meet any need for additional airport capacity in the longer-term by the summer of 2015. Its recommendations to the Government are underpinned by a detailed review of the evidence as to how demand is likely to develop and the expected future pattern of the UK’s requirements for international and domestic connectivity. 

The Airports Commission asked the International Transport Forum for an external view on whether its forecasts yield plausible results, taking into account the ways in which the future of the aviation market may develop. The present report reviews the forecasts and discusses the appropriateness of the outputs produced and the robustness of the scenarios. This includes an examination of the approach to allocating traffic between London’s airports. The work builds on reports on likely airline responses to runway expansion under some of the scenarios already published by the International Transport Forum.

This report is part of the International Transport Forum’s Case-Specific Policy Analysis series. These are topical studies on specific issues carried out by the ITF in agreement with local institutions.