The chief executive of Gatwick Airport will be in Edinburgh today to tell MSPs that expanding the airport will help Scotland’s direct air routes develop.
The airport is also running an advertising campaign in Scotland, highlighting the case for Gatwick.
The campaign claims that creating a monopoly at Heathrow would have a harmful impact on Scotland’s direct routes, with Gatwick claiming it would force more Scots to travel through London rather than from their local airport.
The Airports Commission is considering three options to increase the UK’s runway capacity and is expected to make its recommendation to the UK government in the coming weeks.
Stewart Wingate (pictured), chief executive of Gatwick, will be speaking at the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Aviation, chaired by Edinburgh Western MSP, Colin Keir.
He is expected to urge Scots to back Gatwick’s proposals believing it will help deliver lower fares to all parts of the UK.
Wingate said: “This is an important debate for Scotland, and the choice boils down to competition versus monopoly. Do we want to protect and strengthen Scotland’s growing network of routes by creating a competitive system across the UK, or put that at risk by creating a monopolistic mega-hub at London Heathrow?
“The Airports Commission itself found that in every future scenario, Scotland will have a larger share of the UK airports market if Gatwick expands. “That amounts to 14% more daily scheduled international services from airports outside London and 50 million more passengers through Scotland’s airports.
“On the other hand, the Commission estimates that an expanded Heathrow will command a huge 86% effective monopoly share of the UK long-haul market in 2050, undermining the growing number of long-haul connections built up by Scotland’s airports in recent years, including those to North America and the Middle East.
“I believe the choice for Scotland is more stark by the day. You can have challenger Gatwick, fighting for competition and lower fares in every part of the UK, or the dead hand of the Heathrow monopoly, sucking traffic through London and demanding at least £5.7bn of taxpayers’ money for yet another huge London infrastructure project, at a time when the nations and regions are arguing a powerful case for decentralisation and investment outside the southeast of England.”
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