Runway rivals: Heathrow and Gatwick make their case
03 / 03 / 2015
Heathrow and Gatwick airports have submitted rival proposals for new runway capacity in the UK.
Heathrow wants a third runway, generating “at least £100 bn of UK economic benefits”, while Gatwick seeks to build a second runway, which its owners argue will produce an extra £40 bn of economic benefits to Heathrow’s proposal.
The rival bids were submitted to the Airports Commission – chaired by Sir Howard Davies – an independent body that examines the need for additional UK airport capacity and then makes recommendations to government.
John Holland-Kaye, development director and chief executive designate of Heathrow, says: “Expansion at Heathrow matters to the whole country. Only Heathrow will connect all of the UK to fast growing international markets. The plans we are submitting to the Airports Commission demonstrate major economic benefits from a third runway for the whole of the UK.”
Holland-Kaye adds: “Our plans are deliverable. Heathrow offers the fastest, most cost effective and practical route to connect the whole of the UK to growth and we have proven our ability to deliver a world-class hub that will make Britain proud. Building on Heathrow’s existing strength will connect the whole of the UK to growth, keep Britain as an ambitious global nation and help the UK win the global race.”
Stewart Wingate, chief executive of London Gatwick, says: “As we reach this critical point in the aviation debate it is clear that the Airports Commission has a very real choice to make: expand Gatwick and create genuine competition in the market with lower fares for everyone, or move back to a London airport market dominated by a single player and saddle the next generation with higher air fares.
“Why would you choose to fly a quarter of a million more planes every year over one of the world’s most densely populated cities when instead you can fly them mostly over fields? Why tunnel part of the busiest motorway in Europe – the M25 – causing serious traffic disruption, when you can build on land already set aside for expansion? The choice is an obvious one. Expand the best and only deliverable option – Gatwick – and create a market that serves everyone.”
Any recommendation from the commission on runway capacity will come after the next general election in the UK, due to take place in May 2015.