Gatwick airport has criticised the Airport Commission’s recommendation of a third runway at Heathrow in its first detailed response since the report was published.
The airport’s CEO Stewart Wingate said the final report contained “so many omissions and basic errors” that its reliability must be questioned.
Wingate said one of the key flaws in the report surrounds Howard Davies’ proposed ban on night flights at Heathrow, which would mean fewer services if applied, but said this was not factored into the Commission’s own traffic forecasts for Heathrow.
“The restrictions would impact on the number of long haul flights to and from growth markets in the Far East, the issue at the heart of the decision to recommend Heathrow”, Gatwick said in a statement.
In the 50-page response Gatwick also said the commission’s proposals, which rejected calls to expand Gatwick, used incorrect traffic estimates.
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,” said Gatwick boss Stewart Wingate.
“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.”
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “The Airports Commission undertook a £20m, two-and-a-half year, detailed study of where the next runway should be in the UK. It unanimously and unambiguously chose Heathrow because it is the only option that will connect the whole UK to global growth.”
A spokesman for the commission said: “The evidence in the final report was subject to extensive analysis and consultation and we are confident that it is fit for purpose.”