A proposal to link Heathrow and Gatwick Airports to create a “virtual hub” and use some of the limited excess aviation capacity around London has failed to convince many in the industry.
The idea of a high speed rail link between the two airports, with a connection time of around 15 minutes, would aim to use the fact that Gatwock operates at around 80% capacity, and so could accomodate more short-haul flights, allowing Heathrow to concentrate on long-haul.
However, the idea of Gatwick’s two terminals becoming Heathrow’s terminal 6 and 7 has met with scepticism. The FT reports the idea is being considered by the government, despite the proposed line running through the constituency represented by Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary. It also reports that airlines are unimpressed by the concept, with British Airways saying linking Heathrow and Gatwick would do “absolutely nothing to address the ever more pressing issue of the south-east’s need to have more airport capacity in order for the UK to remain globally competitive”.
They continue to press for a Heathrow third runway, and that may be an idea the Government has to revisit when it prepares it’s new draft aviation policy in the spring.