The research by York Aviation put the cost of travelling to London airports in 2015 at £182m.
Seven million airline passengers from South Wales and the south west of England are wasting almost 1,000 years in additional travel time and £182m by choosing to fly out of the main London airports instead of their local airports.
And each passenger is £27 worse off in terms of lost time and travel costs per trip over the past four years, the analysis by York Aviation consultancy for Bristol Airport found.
Last year alone, leisure passengers wasted £101m and business passengers £82m.
The average holidaymaker lost £17 each per trip compared with £67 extra for each business passenger.
The number of passengers from South Wales and the south west of England flying out of London airports has risen by almost 20 per cent over the past four years to seven million in 2015.
Those passengers endured an additional 512 million minutes, or 974 years, 45 days, 13 hours and 20 minutes of extra travel time on the motorways and railways.
Applying official guidelines for transport appraisals, the researchers calculated that this lost time and extra travel equated to £182m worth of additional cost in 2015.
Most of the ‘leakage’ to London was for short-haul travel – 3.8 million short-haul passengers and 3.1 million long-haul passengers.
Passengers flying from Heathrow lost £100m, those traveling from Gatwick incurred £54m extra costs, Stansted £19m and Luton £10m.
Chief executive of Bristol Airport, Robert Sinclair said: “We are well placed to play our part in solving the country’s airport capacity crisis, and save travellers hundreds of millions in lost time.
“With the third runway at Heathrow still several years away, it makes little sense to continue funnelling passengers from other regions to airports in the South East.
“With better road and rail links, we could take the pressure off Heathrow and Gatwick and keep business connected and holidaymakers flying.”
Speaking at Cardiff Breakfast Club, managing director of Cardiff Airport, Debra Barber, said that the UK Government shouldn’t get “too focused on London” in terms of its national aviation strategy.
She said that even if a new runway is built at Heathrow it would up to 15 years until it becomes operational.
Ms Barber added: “In the meantime capacity issues will continue to grow. We have got fantastic assets in regional airports which need to be considered when the UK Government is considering capacity issues in the south east of England.”
The top five ‘leaked’ routes from South Wales and the south-west of England were: Dubai, New York JFK, Hong Kong, Doha and Singapore.
Cardiff Breakfast Club is sponsored by Stills Branding, the Western Mail, Effective Communication, Blake Morgan, Lloyds Banking Group and the Western Mail.
Credit: Sion Barry, Wales Online