UK runway rivals argue economic case

UK gateways Heathrow and Gatwick have stepped up their war of words over rival runway expansion plans following the release of new analysis by the government’s Airports Commission.
The consultation documents – published for further public comment – present the commission’s analysis of the three proposals shortlisted late last year: two options for extra runway capacity at Heathrow Airport and one at Gatwick Airport.
The commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, will issue its final report in the summer of 2015, after the UK general election.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: "The commission has confirmed that only Heathrow can connect all of Britain to global growth, delivering over £200bn to the British economy and 180,000 jobs while reducing noise for local residents compared to today.”
The commission puts the economic benefit of a new runway at Heathrow at between £112bn and £211bn, a higher figure than previously estimated. The commission said the value to the economy of choosing Heathrow over Gatwick could be as much as £97bn.
“This shows that Heathrow’s proposal is deliverable and is the only way to keep Britain at the heart of the global economy. Now it’s time for all those who want a better future for Britain to make their voice heard and back Heathrow."
Mr Holland-Kaye added: “Heathrow will also deliver more long-haul flights than Gatwick, support more UK cargo exports, and be better connected to the rest of the UK by rail according to the Commission’s consultation document.”
Stewart Wingate, chief executive of London Gatwick Airport, said: “Momentum is building behind Gatwick’s case for expansion as people increasingly realise that it can provide the solution to a problem that has dogged policy-making in Britain for well over a decade, today.”
The commission notes that Gatwick’s scheme has the flexibility to accommodate a range of business models and airline types, and would result in “roughly a doubling of existing capacity at Gatwick and is sufficient to meet the commission’s assessment of need for new capacity by 2030”. The commission also estimates there could be wider benefits within the economy up to £127bn.
Wingate added: “This is the first time that Gatwick has been considered for expansion and it is now seen as a very credible alternative to expansion at Heathrow as the Commission’s consultation document today has underlined. Recent polling has shown that a majority of Londoners, given a straight choice, would support expansion at Gatwick over Heathrow.”
Sir Howard said: Since our interim report last year we have undertaken a huge amount of work. We have carried out a thorough assessment, across a comprehensive range of subjects, looking at the benefits and impacts of each proposal.
“We have not yet taken a view on which proposal strikes the most effective balance between the assessment criteria. It is important first that we provide an opportunity for this evidence to be examined, challenged and improved.”
The commission is looking at a proposal from Gatwick Airport Ltd for an additional runway to the south of the existing runway.
That is competing with a proposal from Heathrow Airport Ltd for an additional runway to the north-west of the existing northern runway and a proposal for an extension to the existing northern runway at Heathrow,  to operate as two separate runways.

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