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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

Gatwick: Airports Commission report ‘flawed’

Gatwick's busy runway

Gatwick has described the Airports Commission’s decision to recommend expansion at Heathrow as “flawed”.

Outlining the airport’s first detailed response since last month’s report was published, chair of Gatwick’s board Roy McNulty said the Commission’s analysis “fell short” in a number of key areas.

Gatwick said it will engage with every level of government and write to prime minister David Cameron to “express concern” over the Commission’s data, analysis and findings.

McNulty said: “Our view has always been that the assessments on which the Commission’s conclusions are based must be thorough, balanced, fair and well evidenced.

“We believe that the Commission’s report falls short of this standard in a number of very important respects. As a result, the many strengths of Gatwick and the many challenges of Heathrow are underplayed, leading to a conclusion which we believe is flawed.”

McNulty added that he was still confident the government will side with Gatwick despite the final report.

“The Airports Commission has made its recommendation and it is now for the Government to decide.

“We are confident that when they do make their decision they will choose Gatwick as the best option for the economy and the environment, and - most importantly - after decades of delay the option that is actually deliverable,” he said.

Some of Gatwick’s concerns are around the understatement of its strengths and Heathrow’s challenges. Gatwick believes the Commission has under-forecast passenger volumes, traveller benefits, air quality and deliverability.

David Cameron said the government will make a decision before the end of the year.


What many in and out of the industry believe, is that for a sustainable long-term solution to capacity, both runways should be given the go-ahead, and work to start as soon as possible.
However Gatwick is unlikely to agree with this point of view, because it will struggle to get funding for a runway that is not the sole one being built.
But looking at the wider picture, surely it is possible to fund and build both - as we see happening at vastly greater scope and speed in other dynamic economies around the world.

Julie Anderson's picture
Julie Anderson (not verified)

But...whilst you can build two runways, where do you put the aircraft once they've got airborne? You can send them in the same direction from the same airport but you can't then get the runway efficiency desired as each will need to wait for the other to get out of the way before it takes off.

Anon1111's picture
Anon1111 (not verified)

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