Passengers willing to pay for improved Heathrow

London - A recent survey has revealed that passengers travelling via Heathrow airport are willing to pay extra if it means improving the busy British airport's services

Wanderlust reports that almost 1 200 people at Heathrow's departure gate were asked if they would pay for a better airport experience. The survey showed that passengers would rather have better services than cut investments to keep ticket prices down.

The survey found that, on average, passengers were willing to see airport charges rise by £44 (R685 at R14,92/pound) over the next five years. Heathrow has recently proposed a significantly smaller increase of £5.01 (R74) in charges, meaning that airport fees make up around 5% of the average ticket price.

Heathrow's top priority areas for development are:

- The Queen's Terminal is set to open in 2014 which will mean that most passengers will be travelling through new facilities. This will also mean the closing of Terminal 1 in 2016 and subsequent extensions to T2 starting in 2019;

- More self-service kiosks for checking in as well as introducing self-service bag drop-offs, which will have a knock on effect for reducing airline operating costs;

- Investment into additional customer service training and introducing mobile staff using tablets for quicker and easier assistance;

- Better transport links from London as well as between terminals;

- Improved punctuality so that departure and arrival times are more reliable. Their performance was as low as 63% in 2007 but currently sits at 80% with aspirations of achieving 90%;

- Better services and products within the airport to accommodate their diverse passenger demographic such as additional lounges, retail outlets and hospitality services;

- Quicker connections and transfers through security and a new baggage system to reduce the risk of lost or delayed bags for passengers;

- Quieter and more energy efficient. The aircraft themselves will not only be more fuel efficient but they will also introduce more electric vehicles to be used on the ground.

The survey comes as part of Heathrow's business plan for 'Q6', their regulatory review period. This plan is set to see £3 billion invested in the airport between 2014 and 2019. This is on top of the £11 billion that has already been invested since 2003.

 
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