'No demand' to expand Gatwick, says easyJet chief

'No demand' to expand Gatwick, says easyJet chief

There is no demand for a second runway at Gatwick and the Government should expand Heathrow, easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall (pictured) said yesterday.

The easyJet chief spoke out as she made clear the carrier would oppose a new runway at Gatwick. EasyJet is the biggest operator at the airport.

The Airports Commission led by Sir Howard Davies is poised to recommend whether the new Government expand capacity at Heathrow or Gatwick. The commission’s report is expected in late June or July.

EasyJet fears a second runway at Gatwick will be funded by a levy imposed on fares.

McCall said: “The funding requirements for a new runway at Gatwick are onerous.”

But she said: “No one is screaming for capacity at Gatwick. There is no demand. Everyone is screaming for capacity at Heathrow. That is the view of everyone in business.”

McCall added: “We operate out of Gatwick and we think it an excellent airport. We want to see a decision. [But] if Davies suggests Gatwick, we’ll have a strong view on that and we’ll make that view known.”

At the same time, McCall said cheaper fuel means “passengers are going to get some great pricing” this summer.

She said the fall in the oil price and increased capacity, especially to and from London, had stimulated demand for travel.

“The demand environment is very good,” she said. “If you were thinking of staying in the UK before, now you will be thinking of going away.

“The more capacity there is in the mass market, the more the pressure on prices. It stimulates demand. It’s a very high capacity environment in London.

EasyJet will increase capacity from the UK by 3.3% this summer, but the carrier forecasts total capacity on the routes it serves will rise 6.7%.

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