Two former London mayoral candidates have been recruited by Gatwick to head a new “growth board” in the latest move in its battle to win permission to expand with a second runway.
The West Sussex airport has appointed Baroness Jowell and Steve Norris to co-chair the board.
Baroness Jowell was pipped by Sadiq Khan as the Labour candidate for London mayor at the latest election and played a high-profile role in delivering the 2012 London Olympics.
Norris, a former transport minister, stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative candidate in the 2000 and 2004 mayoral elections.
The two have been asked to lead studies into the economic benefits and effect on growth and expansion in the context of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.
They have also been charged with working out the social impact of expansion at the airport as it vies with rival Heathrow to win the government green light for a new runway.
They join Khan as London politicians prepared to back Gatwick when political backers for Heathrow are not so obvious, The Times reported.
Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “I am delighted that Baroness Jowell and Steve Norris have come together to establish our growth board – they bring with them immeasurable knowledge, experience and expertise and will help us to ensure that the benefits and impacts of our growth and expansion plans, and how they can deliver for Britain, are properly assessed and effectively implemented.
“Gatwick has invested billions to realise our transformation to this point. We have great plans for further growth in the future and it is now clear that only Gatwick can deliver the runway that the UK needs.”
Norris said: “Gatwick is a very significant part of the UK’s national infrastructure and plays a crucial role in the economic prosperity of the local area, the south-east, and the country as a whole.
“The investment and growth that Gatwick has brought to the UK since coming into independent ownership has been remarkable.
“Particularly in light of the Brexit, Britain needs the certainty that Gatwick’s future growth and expansion plans bring and I look forward to helping take this forward to help maximise the real benefits that Gatwick offers for the region, and for the nation.”
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