Not a day goes by when an environmental group, MP, aviation officials or business heads doesn’t comment on the UK’s aviation policy and lack of air capacity.
The UK, say aviation bosses, is losing out to Europe as the UK struggles to cope with increased demand for flights.
Later this year the Government will be presented with a short list of options by the independent Davies Commissions to suggest the way forward for the country’s aviation policy. This includes airport expansion at Heathrow, a possible new London hub and expansion at some regional airports, including Gatwick. By the summer of 2015 the Davies Commission will submit its full report.
However, Gatwick Airport, which has applied to expand the airport with a second runway, has said it believes it is in ‘pole position’ for expansion.
Gatwick is the UK’s second largest airport, and the busiest single runway airport in the world.
Gatwick’s Chief Executive, Steve Wingate, says he believes that Gatwick will be in pole position come 2015, to get approval to build a second runway. Believing that two airports with two runways (Gatwick and possibly Stansted) would be far more beneficial than adding a third runway at Heathrow.
Mr Wingate said “Heathrow is just in the wrong place and has such a large environmental impact. The environmental impact of Gatwick is an absolute fraction of the environmental impact of Heathrow.” Adding, that 250,000 people lived in the 57 decibel noise contour at Heathrow, compared to around 3,000 around Gatwick.
The air capacity row, and the best ways in which to deal with the problem, will rage on for many years to come.
Gatwick Airport is growing at a rate of around 5% each year. The airport is adding new airlines to its portfolio, bringing many more long haul, International routes to the airport, including prosperous Far Eastern destinations.