Airport expansion decision expected tomorrow

Tomorrow is judgement day when the Government is finally expected to announce whether Heathrow or Gatwick will be given the go ahead to build another runway.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr show yesterday, the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, said that the Government had yet to decide which of the three “well-crafted proposals” it would choose.

The decision will be made on Tuesday at a cabinet committee meeting.

Gatwick is still standing by its option saying Gatwick’s plan offers the Government the certainty of delivery and growth, and the choice was between Gatwick – a simpler, faster, cheaper and less impactful option – or Groundhog Day at Heathrow.

Gatwick Chief Executive Stewart Wingate, said: “Airport expansion has been in a holding pattern for decades. We are finally getting to the point of decision again. The choice is crystal clear – growth at Gatwick or Groundhog Day at Heathrow. There is one reason why Heathrow has repeatedly tried and failed to expand – its location. Many things have changed in this debate but Heathrow is still based at Heathrow.

“Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. Now is the time for Britain to abandon the failed orthodoxy of the past and choose certainty. We can’t afford another false start.

“Gatwick offers an end to this debate by providing a deliverable solution for balanced economic growth across the UK. With all the economic benefits at a fraction of the impacts, it is the obvious solution.”

Whether tomorrow will see the end of the arguments and a start of airport expansion in the South East, only time will tell. Personally, I can see the saga rumbling on for some time, if not years, to come

Another record-breaking month at Gatwick

Gatwick Airport is celebrating after experienceing a record-breaking September when 4.3 million passengers passed through the airport – a 6.9% increase on the same period last year.

Ever optimistic of receiving planning permission for a second runway, the airport hopes that the increasing number of Gatwick passengers – 42.3 million in the past 12 months – will further emphasise the need for another runway and show how inaccurate the Airport Commission’s forecast for Gatwick is.

According to the Airport Commission’s report, Gatwick isn’t expected to reach the 42 million passenger mark until 2030. Gatwick has surpassed this 14 years ahead of schedule.

Contributing to the September passenger numbers were a 58.5% increase in North Atlantic traffic (Toronto +135%, Vancouver +114% and Los Angeles +50%) and a 14.8% increase in passengers travelling to Ireland. Average load factors were 87%, while cargo growth increased by 17.4%.

Gatwick Chief Executive Stewart Wingate, said: “Gatwick’s continued record-breaking growth shows we can deliver for Britain. We are already decades ahead of predictions on passenger and long haul growth and the demand for expansion at Gatwick is clear to see.

“Airport expansion has failed to get off the ground in the past because of insurmountable obstacles such as the air quality and noise impacts that make Heathrow undeliverable. It is time for a new solution. For the first time in this decades-long debate, Gatwick has demonstrated that it can deliver all of the economic benefits at a dramatically lower environmental impact.

“Gatwick gives the Government the certainty of a competitive solution which keeps costs and impacts low while laying the foundations of an economy that works for everyone.”

Gatwick’s shortlisted companies announced

Gatwick Airport has unveiled its shortlist of construction and engineering companies to continue with its £2.5bn transformation.

A total of 127 companies submitted notifications of interest in the airport’s next round of expansion before the shortlist of 17 companies was selected.

Of the 17 companies, 10 are local:

  • Vinci
  • Galliford Try
  • Balfour Beatty
  • Volker Fitzpatrick
  • Interserve
  • Harvey Group
  • Murphy
  • Kier
  • Wates
  • Marco
  • Dyer & Butler
  • Colas
  • BAM Nuttall
  • Raymond Brown
  • Gratte Bros
  • SSE Contracting
  • Ergro

Gatwick’s Development Director, Raymond Melee, said: “These contractors will help to deliver the next phase of Gatwick’s transformation, which has already seen £1.3 billion of investment since independent ownership in 2009. Gatwick is growing fast with more than 41 million passengers a year now travelling through the world’s busiest single runway airport – a decade ahead of industry predictions. As we rapidly approach full capacity Gatwick stands ready to deliver a second runway.”

Gatwick 2nd runway odds slashed

Could Gatwick Airport be given the green light to build a second runway?

If one bookmaker’s odds are anything to go by, it could.

Following the announcement that London Mayor, Sadiq Khan supports expansion at Gatwick, betting firm Betway has slashed Gatwick’s odd to 4/7.

Meanwhile, Heathrow’s chances have lengthened to 5/4.

Watch this space!

Gatwick outlines plans to deliver new runway by 2025

Gatwick Airport Chairman, Sir Roy McNulty has written to the Prime Minster outlining the airport’s plan to deliver a new runway by 2025.

In the letter, Sir Roy pledges that

  • Subject to planning permission being granted in this current Parliament, Gatwick can commence building work before the next election and can deliver the new runway prior to following election.
  • The new runway will guarantee balanced economic growth across the UK.
  • Gatwick will deliver more competition and a guarantee that passenger charges would be subject to an inflation linked £15 firm price limit from 2025 through to 2050.
  • The new runway will be privately funded at no expense to the taxpayer.
  • There will be no breach air quality limits imposed by the Government.
  • Gatwick will cap the number of people affected by noise, imposing a noise contour cap of 70kmsq covering 15,000 people experiencing 57decibels LEQ noise and a wider contour cap of 175kmsq covering 40,000 people experiencing 55 decibels LDN.
  • In addition to the noise contours, Gatwick will introduce an industry-leading compensation scheme – paying £1000 pa towards the Council Tax of those most affected by noise (57 decibels LEQ) from 2025.
  • Shareholders are committed to the timely delivery and financing of the second runway.

Further delay in airport expansion decision?

Could we be waiting even longer for a decision on airport expansion?

A Whitehall “logjam”, the result of the EU referendum in June, means that there may be insufficient time in July for the Government to rule on which airport should get another runway, the Evening Standard reports.

The paper reports that one senior Tory said “The Prime Minister is absolutely consumed by the referendum and a lot of decisions are piling up in the in-tray.”

If the decision on airport expansion isn’t made in July, before the summer recess, we shall have to wait until September at the earliest for an announcement.

Gatwick sees 36 months of consecutive passenger growth

In the space of three years Gatwick has gone from handling 34 million passengers to fast-approaching 41 million.

This March saw more than 3.1 million passengers pass through Gatwick, an increase of 5.8% on March 2015, and marking 36 months of consecutive passenger growth.

Gatwick’s expanding long-haul market contributed to the increase in passengers – North Atlantic passenger numbers increased by 19.3% with Los Angeles flights seeing a 62.8% increase in passengers, Toronto passengers rose by 60.3% and Vancouver’s by 35.8%.

Passengers flying to Irish destinations increased by 15.4%, while European scheduled passengers were up 7.9%, at the expense of European chartered which fell by 11.4%.

In a rolling 12-month period (April 2015 – March 2016), passengers were up 5.5% when compared to the previous 12-month period (April 2014 – March 2015).

With the introduction of 20 new long-haul destinations this summer, the airport can only expect to see passenger numbers increase more than ever, further cementing its argument that it needs a second runway.

Gatwick targets 50% cut in carbon emissions

Gatwick Airport has appointed a carbon emissions analyst in its attempt to become the UK’s leading low-carbon airport by 2025.

Simon Sturgis will join the airport later this month to help Gatwick identify ways in which the airport can reduce its carbon footprint by half by 2020.

Gatwick’s current environment targets from 2010 to 2020 are:

  • 50% reduction in carbon emissions (30% achieved to date)
  • Maintain current zero breaches of legal air quality limits (on track)
  • 20% reduction in water consumption (achieved)
  • 20% reduction in electricity and gas consumption (17% achieved to date)
  • No untreated waste to landfill/ 70% recycling rate (achieved/ 48% achieved)

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: “Gatwick has ambitious expansion plans to meet rapidly growing demand, and these are matched by equally ambitious plans to develop the airport in the most environmentally responsible way possible.

“Carbon used in construction is often a hidden cost to the environment, but we know it is a significant contributor to an airport’s environmental footprint. I’m delighted that Simon has come on board and will help us reduce our carbon impact across the full range of activities so we can become the most sustainable airport around. “

Gatwick second runway out for tender

While the rest of us waits to see if the Government will finally make a decision about airport expansion, Gatwick Airport is seeking expressions of interest to build its 2nd runway, the Telegraph reports.

Although, the airport will not select companies to carry out work until it receives the green light, Gatwick is asking for expressions of interest from construction and engineering consultancies to ensure that no time is wasted if the second runway is given approval.

Gatwick is one of Europe’s fastest growing airports

It’s official, Gatwick Airport is one of Europe’s fastest growing airports.

The announcement by the Airport Council International Europe was made shortly after Gatwick revealed it had experienced is busiest-ever January, just one month shy of three years of consecutive growth.

Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: “Strong growth in our European routes – coupled with the ongoing demand for more and more long haul services – has helped ensure the airport’s place among the fastest growing airports of Europe.

“With each month of continued growth, Gatwick further demonstrates that it is ready for expansion. The simple facts show that Gatwick’s plan is not just the best but the only deliverable solution to the question of where the UK’s next runway should be built.

“It’s clear now that the barriers facing Heathrow are insurmountable – it’s Gatwick or nothing and it’s time to get on with it.”