Gatwick puts its case to UK Government’s airports sub-committee
27 / 09 / 2016
Following closely on the heels of London Gatwick’s announcement that it has commissioned an independent assessment by Oxford Economics into the economic benefit of the gateway to the local area and the nation (http://www.aircargonews.net/news/airports/single-view/news/london-gateways-battle-it-out.html), the operator of the UK’s second-biggest airport has given evidence to a Cabinet sub-committee that a second runway at Gatwick is both a low-risk option and can be guaranteed quickly – by 2025, in fact.
Gatwick has also provided evidence to the Government’s Economy and Industrial Strategy (Airports) sub-committee of what it says shows that the Final Report of the Howard Davies-chaired Airports Commission, which was published in July 2015, drastically underestimated Gatwick’s growth and made fundamental mistakes.
Gatwick’s analysis instead shows “that the benefits of Gatwick expansion exceed those of either Heathrow options”, the airport’s operator argued in its summary of “new evidence… that supersedes the now discredited Airports Commission Final Report”.
Gatwick’s contention is that the Commission said Gatwick would not serve 42 million passengers a year until 2030, or fly to 50 long-haul destinations until 2050 (with a second runway) – whereas both were achieved this year – 15 and 34 years ahead of projections respectively.
Plus, says Gatwick, the Commission’s final report ignored changes in the aviation industry. Modern aircraft are now flying further more cheaply – a trend that has seen the growth of direct long haul routes from local airports and removed the need to fly through hub airports, Gatwick argues.
Finally, the economic benefits of expanding Gatwick exceed those of either Heathrow options, Gatwick argues.
In its analysis, the Commission counted economic benefits brought by international transfer passengers who never set foot in the UK – or generate money for the nation’s economy – Gatwick insists.
The report provided by Gatwick to the sub-committee also highlights the guarantees that the gateway has committed to if it is given the green light on the construction of a new runway.
Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate declared: “It is appropriate that the Government’s Economy and Industrial Strategy sub-committee is taking a new look at the issue of airport expansion as so much has changed since the Airports Commission’s report was published.
“Today’s report sets out clearly why a new runway at Gatwick can give the Government the certainty that, finally, something can happen to give the country the connectivity and economic boost it needs.
“Gatwick provides a solution to a problem that has dogged successive governments for generations. It is a solution that can be delivered quickly, at low risk and more competitively, and signals to Europe and the world that we are determined, decisive, action-oriented and open for business.
“By backing an efficient, competitive solution that keeps costs low, Britain will indeed be laying the foundations of an economy that works for everyone,” Wingate concluded.