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A review of airport charges to boost air links to Scotland has been promised by Heathrow if its expansion plans are approved.
Heathrow’s bosses said if they win the contest they would review airport charges in a bid to make routes to Scotland more attractive, the BBC reported
They would also work to establish new flights from Heathrow to Scottish airports it does not currently serve.
This would bring a long-term boost to Scotland’s economy, worth billions of pounds.
The Airports Commission is due to publish its final recommendation on airport expansion in the south-east to the government in the summer – after the general election.
It is considering three short-listed options – a new runway for Heathrow, a new runway for Gatwick, or the extension of an existing runway at Heathrow.
A Gatwick spokesperson said: “Scotland should not be swayed by empty promises. Gatwick already serves more regional destinations than Heathrow where domestic services have been progressively cut back. Heathrow has made many promises in the past but like other significant pledges made by the company, it will likely come to nothing.
“The break-up of Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports, which were both owned by Heathrow, have shown that competition and choice is good for passengers, creating new routes and better service.
“Only Gatwick expansion offers the competitive choice and our message to Scottish travellers and businesses is clear: Gatwick stands for choice and competition, creating new routes, low fares and better customer service.
“Creating a new Heathrow monopoly would be bad news and a backwards step for Scotland. It will certainly undermine direct routes to and from the nations and regions, while adding costs to the travel plans of every passenger and every business.”
Scotland’s transport minister Derek Mackay said he welcomed Heathrow’s plans to develop a regional pricing structure.
He said: “This was one of the key issues highlighted in the Scottish government’s response to the Airports Commission.
“Regional pricing would help maintain key links between Scotland and London and would also encourage greater competition on these routes, ensuring passengers get the best ticket prices possible.
“We hope this move will incentivise other airlines to take up the slots being vacated by Virgin when they stop their domestic services in September so that tourists can easily connect to Scotland through this world hub from long-haul services.
“Whilst we remain impartial in terms of the Airports Commission’s work on increased capacity at Heathrow and Gatwick, we reiterate our desire for a defined minimum level of access for flights from Scotland to ensure we adequately benefit from any new capacity.”
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