Gatwick boss Stewart Wingate has intensified his attack on the Airport Commission’s decision to recommend rival Heathrow for a new runway.
In an interview with yesterday’s London Evening Standard the chief executive of the West Sussex airport described the commission’s report as ‘superficial’, ‘flawed’, ‘erroneous’ and ‘inconsistent’.
He believes not enough credit was given to Gatwick’s proposal for a second runway, which he believes is both politically and economically more deliverable.
In the interview billed as Gatwick ‘declaring war on Heathrow’, Wingate claims the Heathrow proposal for a third runway won’t be delivered in his lifetime.
He added he thought Gatwick was still “very much in the race” to win approval for expansion, with the Conservative government promising a decision in the autumn.
“If we look at the recommendation from the commission, from our perspective it seems to be unravelling fast – as, of course, in recent years, every recommendation has done whenever Heathrow has featured.
“If you actually want to get on and get a runway delivered, the way to do that is to look at the option of Gatwick. It’s really only come to the table for the first time in this debate and is something very fresh, very new and very deliverable, as opposed to going down the same old cul-de-sac which is Heathrow.”
Wingate believes the Airports Commission downplayed the environmental impact of a third Heathrow runway while failing to give Gatwick credit for growth under new owners GIP, particularly among business travellers on low-cost airlines.
He argued that a new Gatwick runway would offer a greater capacity increase for London and the southeast than Heathrow and open up potential for long-haul flying at other regional airports.
Gatwick has produced a full response to the Airports Commission recommendation which concluded that there was overwhelming support for Heathrow expansion both from the business community and airlines.
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