London Gatwick has submitted to the Airports Commission a proposal for a second runway – positioned to the south of the current site. Gatwick has provided a case outlining why the next runway should be built at the London airport and believes it is the most affordable, sustainable and deliverable solution for London and for the UK.
Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick Chief Executive, said: “London is the best connected city in the world today because the UK’s aviation industry is one of the most competitive and innovative. Our proposal to the Airports Commission builds on this foundation and would ensure that the UK has an airports policy which offers the additional capacity that Britain needs, improves the resilience of the airports system and, above all, can be delivered.
“Our evidence shows clearly that an additional runway at Gatwick would best serve the needs of all passengers, and give certainty to airlines, communities and businesses. It would deliver the connectivity the UK needs with lower environmental impacts, whilst spreading the economic benefits.
“A two-runway Gatwick, as part of a constellation of three major airports surrounding London, will also provide flexibility in an industry where the only constant is change.”
The airport said in a statement that the proposal was the best solution for the UK and London on the grounds that it:
Offers certainty: A second runway at Gatwick is the best and most deliverable solution. It can be privately financed and would not require substantial government subsidy - as Heathrow or an Estuary airport would.
Has significantly less environmental and community obstacles: The overall number of people affected by noise with a second runway at Gatwick will still be equivalent to only 5% of the people that Heathrow impacts today. Studies show that the number of people impacted by noise at Gatwick would range from 3,300 – comparable to today with a single runway – up to 11,800.
Furthermore, our evidence shows that we can keep within the European and national air quality standard limits with an additional runway. Heathrow today breaches these limits.
Provides the best strategic fit for London and the UK: The position of London today, as the best connected World City with the largest aviation market in the world, is not the result of an outstanding ‘hub’ airport. Rather, it is the result of consistent government policy to liberalise the airline market and stimulate competition amongst airlines and airports. Other World Cities, including New York, Tokyo, Paris and Moscow, also operate a multi-airport or ‘constellation’ system, and handle greater numbers of passengers than cities relying on a single ‘hub’.
The Gatwick proposal is well aligned with the way passengers want to travel today and how they will want to travel in the future - with 87% of passengers starting or ending their journeys in London. Moreover, the Gatwick proposal is best aligned with key future trends - including continued market share gains by Low Cost Carriers, the spread of new technology hub-busting aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, and the rapid rise of new hubs in the Middle East and Far East. It is most likely that such trends will continue to reduce the relative importance of traditional transfer traffic through London, and will confirm that a single dominant hub is not the best solution for the UK’s future needs.
Delivers for passengers: Passengers want choice when booking their flights, based on price, location, convenience and route. A second runway at Gatwick, as part of a ‘constellation’ of airports around London, would provide more convenient access for passengers than concentrating all long-haul flights at one hub.
Our evidence also shows that fares at a single dominant hub airport can be significantly higher than in a city which has a number of competing airports. Airfares are already lower in general at Gatwick than at Heathrow to the same destinations, clearly demonstrating the value to passengers of competition.
Delivers better connectivity: Expansion at Gatwick would deliver the additional capacity and connectivity which the UK and London need until the 2040s. A second runway at Gatwick would provide a similar level of connectivity overall as would a third runway at Heathrow, but with additional benefits to passengers, to London and to the economy. A second runway at Gatwick would be built for less, would increase competition and would lead to lower fares which in turn would stimulate economic growth.
Maintains connectivity of the regions, London and the South East: Gatwick is currently the best connected London airport to the UK regions. We believe that any expansion of Gatwick – given our vibrant short-haul market – would help to maintain connectivity between the regions, London and the South East.
Builds on strong local support: Gatwick has made a commitment to engage fully and openly with its local community and has already gained support in principle from West Sussex County Council, Kent County Council, the Gatwick Diamond Business, Gatwick Diamond Initiative, Coast to Capital LEP and Sussex Enterprise.
Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “The county council has voted to support expansion of Gatwick, in principle, because of the huge potential economic benefits for West Sussex. However, we want to work with Gatwick, residents and partners to ensure that any development will take into account the environmental concerns that people rightly have, and include all of the essential infrastructure that a development of this scale would require. We are pleased that Gatwick has agreed to work with us on these issues.”
Paul Gresham, Chair of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative said: “The £19.2bn Gatwick Diamond economy has developed over fifty years as a result of the location of London Gatwick Airport. International businesses have already chosen the Gatwick Diamond to locate their UK and European headquarters and many more will be attracted as Gatwick grows its routes with a second runway proposal.
“Thousands of new knowledge sector jobs will be created; transport, housing and town infrastructure developed and UK Plc will be benefit. Businesses are telling us that they want, and support a second runway and that Gatwick Diamond Initiative is delighted to support Gatwick’s submission to the Airports Commission.”