Capacity constraints at Heathrow are resulting in world airlines shunning the UK, a study by the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (Bar UK) shows.


More than half of scheduled airlines will base flights in other countries because of the London hub’s lack of capacity, the poll showed.


86% of carriers said they would put on more services to the UK if additional take-off and landing slots were available at Heathrow.


Bar UK chief executive Mike Carrivick, said: “UK business leaders should be very concerned about the restrictions on reaching new markets at such a critical time in the UK recovery effort.


“The survey’s results are a chilling reminder that the government must act decisively, and soon, in the national interest. Restricting capacity at key airports to the same level as the last decade is actively encouraging airlines and trade to go elsewhere.”


The results are being released at a transport conference in London by Colin Matthews, chief executive of Heathrow owner BAA.


He said: “These figures show that it is a mistake to believe that flights displaced from Heathrow will automatically fly to Stansted, Gatwick or Birmingham instead. The message I hear from airlines is clear: if there’s no room at Heathrow then flights will move out of the UK altogether.”


He added: “Instead of Britain taking the lead in forging new links with growing economies like China, we are handing economic growth to our competitors by turning away airlines who want to bring jobs, growth and trade to the UK.”


Aviation minister Theresa Villiers told the Press Association: “We recognise the importance of maintaining Britain’s position as one of the best-connected countries in the world. That is why the Chancellor committed us to exploring all the options for maintaining the UK’s aviation hub status, with the exception of a third runway at Heathrow.”