Review of the Economic Value of Night Flights at Heathrow

The Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN) has asked CE Delft to review the report “The economic value of Night flights at Heathrow” by Oxford Economics (2011). The report attempts to estimate the economic benefits in terms of value added, employment and tax revenues of night flights at Heathrow Airport in this economic impact study, as well as the costs of a possible ban on night flights. We find that the report overstates the benefits for a number of reasons:

  • All night-time employment is unjustly assigned to activities relating to night flights.
  • Clock-in rates are used to measure nighttime employment even though they are much higher than actual hours worked at night.
  • Part of the value added of foreign airliners is incorrectly added to UK GDP.
  • Daytime employment and added value of the second leg of a transfer flight is incorrectly assigned to nighttime employment and added value.
  • Night-time employment and added value of non-airliner entities is presumably counted twice.
  • The impacts and losses refer to gross impacts and not to net impacts on the economy.
  • Air connectivity is not affected by a ban on night flights, hence the catalytic effects will be much smaller than reported.
  • The scenario’s on the ban on night flights contain several unrealistic assumptions.



Marnix Koopman

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