Gatwick say that work led by Sir Terry Farrell also suggests expansion at Gatwick would provide better balanced growth for London, the region and the UK. With the majority of traffic shared between London’s two major airports, Gatwick say the economic benefits would be more evenly distributed across London and the South East.
Gatwick suggest an extra runway there would help the UK connect to 27 more destinations than a third runway at Heathrow, and would cater for 11 million more passengers each year by 2050 than a three-runway Heathrow.
Gatwick also committed, subject to Government approval and assuming quick decision making – neither of which are guaranteed – that it can start construction of a new runway before the end of the next parliament in 2020, with the first flights taking off by the end of the following one in 2025.
Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick CEO, said: “The next runway needs to bring the greatest economic return for the UK at the lowest environmental cost. That makes Gatwick the obvious answer as we will be able to connect to more destinations in the future because we are the only airport to cater for all airline models. It is the best solution that embraces long term aviation trends. It can also be delivered in less time with less cost and less noise. Most importantly, passengers will benefit from more choice and better value for money. If chosen – and with swift decision making – we are committing today to start work on site in the next Parliament.”
Sir Terry Farrell said: “I have no doubt that with a second runway, Gatwick will deliver more balanced, and more widely spread, economic growth for London and the South East. Expansion at Gatwick could do for South London and the wider region what the Olympics did for East London and give a huge boost in terms of jobs, housing and regeneration.”
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “A single hub airport is the only way to connect the UK to the fastest growing economies because it’s the only model that can sustain long-haul flights.
“Heathrow doesn’t oppose a second runway at Gatwick which serves predominantly short haul, low cost airlines. But new capacity at Gatwick will not provide the hub capacity needed by network airlines to put on new long haul routes.
“For the UK to compete in the global race for jobs and growth we need a hub airport with direct long-haul connections to the world’s fastest growing economies.”