Gatwick: A sensible approach. GACC meeting with GAL
The community group representing residents near Gatwick Airport (GAL), the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC), recently met senior staff at the airport to discuss issues of common concern. GACC welcomed the realistic approach taken by GAL to the new aviation policy, concentrating first on improving the passenger experience and keeping out of the overheated press speculation about new runways or a new Estuary airport. GACC welcomes the airport’s recognition that ‘Heathwick’ (Gatwick linked to Heathrow by high speed rail to make a virtual hub) makes no sense.” The airport says it operates generally at around 78% capacity.
GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)
23 January 2012
A sensible approach
GACC has held a constructive meeting with the Chairman of Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL), Sir David Rowlands, and Gatwick chief executive, Stewart Wingate. In addition to discussing issues of local concern such as noise and complaint handling, GACC welcomed the realistic approach taken by GAL to the new aviation policy, concentrating first on improving the passenger experience and keeping out of the overheated press speculation about new runways or a new Estuary airport.
Extracts from GAL’s response to the Government’s consultation on aviation policy are given below.
GACC wishes to see a reduction in night flights but nevertheless welcomes the statement by GAL that: ‘We will not be seeking any increase in the Government’s forthcoming consultation on the future night flights regime.’
Speaking after the meeting, GACC chairman Brendon Sewill said: “There has been a lot of speculation in the press about the need for new runways. Most of it is naïve and exaggerated.
“Airport enthusiasts need to realise that –
- the latest Department for Transport forecasts show that the London airports will not be full until 2030. If the recession persists or the Euro collapses, the date may be much later. It would make no environmental or commercial sense to build a new runway anywhere in the South East while there is still spare capacity.
- Climate change targets cannot be met unless the current ban on new runways is kept until 2050.
- Gatwick is a small airport with no space for an efficient new runway. GACC welcomes the airport’s recognition that ‘Heathwick’ (Gatwick linked to Heathrow by high speed rail to make a virtual hub) makes no sense.”
For a full description of why a new Gatwick runway is not practicable, and why climate change rules out large scale airport expansion, see GACC’s response to the Government consultation on aviation policy www.gacc.org.uk/aviation-policy
Some extracts from Gatwick Airport Ltd’s response to the Department for Transport consultation on future aviation policy.
A “virtual” hub makes no sense …. The airside to airside transfer times, and the difficulties with baggage, will make it deeply unattractive to travellers. Why transfer through such a hub when it can be done so much more easily at a number of airports in Europe?
…. The first point that must be accepted is that not all the main south east airports are congested or ‘constrained’. Stansted is apparently operating at 53% capacity. Gatwick operates generally at around 78% capacity.
… At the same time, we should be clear that EU ETS [emissions trading scheme] on its own will not be enough alone to bring emissions down to 2005 levels by 2050.
…. When Gatwick passed into new ownership we made it immediately clear that we would respect the agreement reached between the previous owner and our local authorities not to build a second main runway before 2019 and that continues to be the case…. We have no current plans to build a second runway, but like any business our plans need to cater for all eventualities and we must be able therefore to safeguard land for the future.
 The meeting took place on Thursday 19 January at the airport.