Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate (pictured) explains why the Airports Commission should recommend that Britain’s second-largest airport is given the go-ahead to build an extra runway. Gatwick’s plan, says Wingate, is cheaper, simpler, faster and quieter
Our record run of growth proves yet again the benefit of having a network of competing airports in the south-east. However, investment can only take growth so far.
Now is the time for a final decision on extra runway capacity. Decades of debate must now turn to action. While we all want the economy to expand, today more than ever we have to balance growth with the impact it has on the environment.
The fact remains that a new runway at Gatwick can deliver the economic benefits the country needs faster, cheaper, more simply, and at a fraction of the overwhelming environmental costs that face Heathrow.
Gatwick’s plan provides the Airports Commission and the government with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to solve the issue of airport capacity for generations to come.
10 reasons why Gatwick airport should be expanded…
1. Two world-class airports
Expanding Gatwick will create two world-class gateways in a network of competing airports for London and the south-east. At the same time, the UK will be building capacity that can cater for all airline markets – low-cost, charter and legacy – so all passengers benefit.
2. Economic benefits
Increasing capacity at Gatwick will generate more benefits for the UK economy than any other shortlisted option. It will connect London directly with more destinations, including in the emerging markets. Lower air fares from greater competition will generate more direct traffic in all segments: short and long haul, leisure and business.
3. The right future capacity
London’s airports will need to handle 110 million more passengers per year by 2050. The majority of this growth (60 million) will be in short haul where Gatwick provides the lowest-cost and most efficient solution. Much of the other growth will be inbound traffic from emerging economies. Expanding Gatwick will free up capacity at Heathrow so that it can focus on the needs of legacy airlines.
4. More competition
Expanding Gatwick will cut Heathrow’s dominant market share from 52 per cent to 35 per cent by 2050, exposing it to full competition for the first time. It will encourage innovation and new entrants, and foster consumer choice.
5. Better access
Road and rail congestion will be far less than the solution offered by Heathrow, which concentrates growth in a congested location. With the upgraded Thameslink line, there will be a train from Gatwick to central London every two-and-a-half minutes.
6. Lower cost
Expansion of Heathrow would cost double that of Gatwick (£15.6bn against £7.8bn). Heathrow already has the highest airport charges in the world and we estimate that these would need to double, making it wholly unattractive for low-cost carriers to operate there. Gatwick’s plan will also be privately funded with no need for public subsidy.
7. Less noise
At the European standard noise contour [55dB Lden], London’s mayor Boris Johnson, using Civil Aviation Authority modelling, estimates that 756,150 people would be affected by noise at Heathrow, compared with 12,500 at Gatwick. A third Heathrow runway would mean many more people being exposed to noise for the first time.
8. Air quality limits met
Gatwick has never breached EU or UK annual air quality limits and the airport has guaranteed it will maintain this record if a second runway is built. The area around Heathrow already breaks these limits.
9. Strong regeneration
A second runway at Gatwick will deliver £90bn to the UK economy and create around 120,000 jobs. It will boost south London’s regeneration and support growth of the capital eastwards.
10. Delivered by 2025
Gatwick can deliver a new runway in 2025 if the planning go-ahead is received by May 2020.
Read more about Gatwick’s case for expansion at gatwickobviously.com