Construction of a third runway at London Heathrow could open London service for five new U.S. cities and open Heathrow to cities currently served only by flights to London Gatwick, according to an OAG analysis. 

The British Parliament approved construction of the third runway in June, but the opening is years away, with a planned completion date in 2026. The runway is expected to enable 260,000 more departures and arrivals per year at Heathrow, which is Europe's busiest airport. 

Anchorage, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and St. Louis are the five U.S. cities that OAG said are likely to get London service after the expansion. 

"These destinations could be described as the marginal cities, which are destinations where connecting traffic across airline alliances is crucial to the commercial success of the service," OAG said in its report titled, "The Heathrow Forecast: Growth, Expansion and New Markets." "Since we are projecting nearly 10 years out on what could be possible, we have assumed that current marginal cities will have developed from their current sizes and be capable of supporting services from London, and particularly an airport such as Heathrow where connectivity will be available."

OAG senior analyst John Grant said that in composing the study, researchers looked at connecting flight demand to London. They also considered cities that have lost London service due to industry consolidation as well as cities, such as Cincinnati, that have service to other European cities but not London. 

OAG identified Fort Lauderdale, Oakland, Orlando and Tampa as cities with current flights to London Gatwick that are likely to add Heathrow service once the third runway is open. 

In addition, Heathrow could see an additional 4.4 million annual passengers departing on long-haul, low-cost flights with the third runway. U.S beneficiaries of those flights would likely include Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Washington, Orlando, Dallas, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Philadelphia.

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