Davies rebuffs Gatwick criticism

Sir Howard Davies has responded to Gatwick Airport’s criticism of his Airports Commission report by saying that “using colourful language… does not turn weak points in to strong ones”.

Gatwick Airport published a “full and detailed response” to the Airports Commission Final Report pointing out what they described as “key errors, omissions, and flaws”. They suggested Sir Howard Davies’s recommendation for Heathrow expansion was “continuing to unravel”.

Gatwick say, among other criticisms, that the proposed ban on night flights at Heathrow should mean less flights, but that this was not factored in to the Airports Commission’s traffic forecasts for Heathrow.

Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: “We expected a well-considered examination of all options, but instead the final report contains so many omissions and basic errors that its reliability as the basis of aviation policy must be called into question. The findings of this report simply do not add up.

“Britain is in danger of losing out once again if we repeat mistakes of the past – Heathrow has failed time and again and the Airports Commission report and the conditions placed on expansion have not solved the huge obstacles confronting it.

“In recent weeks, it has become abundantly clear that Heathrow won’t meet these conditions, nor will they pay for the £6 billion in surface access improvements needed, and Heathrow’s airlines have shown they don’t want to pay for the runway. The recommendation for Heathrow is unravelling by the day.

“I remain confident that when all the risks and benefits are properly considered, Gatwick will still represent the best option for UK airport expansion.”

Sir Howard was not impressed, commenting: “This dossier appears to repeat many points which Gatwick made to the Commission in the course of its work and which, unsurprisingly, were carefully considered. They did not alter the Commission’s view that Heathrow was the best option. Using colourful language, as Mr Wingate has done, does not turn weak points into strong ones, and does him and his company no credit.

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