Gatwick touring the regions to try to drum up support for 2nd runway (Heathrow also touring …)
As Heathrow has been putting itself about across the regions, trying to “sell” its runway, Gatwick is doing the same. Gatwick staff have begun a UK tour campaign, trying to get some backing for their 2nd runway. In reality, Gatwick does not have a lot to offer. It has very little air cargo, if what companies in the regions is looking for is a way to export products. Gatwick is on the wrong side of London for anyone north of Heathrow, and it is almost exclusively an airport for low cost leisure travel. It has few long haul routes, and none to influential places not served by airports such as Birmingham or Manchester. But Gatwick is hoping to persuade that another runway would provide cheaper flights to and from the south east. That is a bit hard to believe, as the cost of the runway would mean ticket prices would have to rise by at least £15 – 18 or even up to £23, (one way). Gatwick’s tour includes Manchester, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh and Newcastle. Heathrow is, at the same time, having “launch events” in Liverpool, Yorkshire, the Midlands and the Thames Valley, to try to persuade how their 3rd runway would provide huge benefits etc etc etc. The Airports Commission appreciated that, being a tourism airport, Gatwick just boosts the UK tourism deficit, as Brits take their money out of the country on cheap trips. More and more spin ….
Gatwick will push its bid across UK
GATWICK bosses have begun a UK tour campaign in a bid to win backing for a second runway.
They believe another runway would provide cheaper flights to and from the south east and greater economic benefits across the country.
The tour has already reached Manchester and future events will take place in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh and Newcastle.
Heathrow has also launched an “election-style” manifesto in a bid to gain support for its expansion plans.
In December the Department for Transport confirmed that the commission’s shortlisted options – new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick, or extension of an existing runway at Heathrow – were ”viable”.
But it also announced that further work on noise, pollution and compensation – which it expects to be concluded over the summer – will be carried out before it makes a decision on which project to support.
Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “With the Government shortly set to make a decision on airport capacity it is important that the regions and nations of the UK know how expansion in the South East will benefit them.
“Rather than concentrating growth in a corner of west London, Gatwick expansion will spread more evenly the economic benefits which will help deliver regional powerhouses across the UK.” [How, exactly??]
Gatwick announces £20m fund to boost regions if second runway gets go ahead
10 Apr 2015
By Helen McArdle (News Reporter, Herald Scotland)
GATWICK Airport will establish a £20 million fund to boost regional connections to and from London in the ten years after opening a second runway, bosses have said, as the battle with Heathrow over expansion intensifies.
The cash would be used to incentivise airlines to introduce new services and help bankroll marketing campaigns for tourism bodies in UK regions, including Scotland.
Airport bosses would also work with Government to explore how to safeguard slots for new regional domestic flights and support funding applications for new subsidised routes, according to the details of a package unveiled on Friday.
The move comes weeks after rival Heathrow announced plans to cut airport charges for domestic flights and launch a £10m Route Development Fund if it was given the go-ahead to build a third runway.
Revealing the plans at Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Gatwick Airport chief executive Stuart Wingate said: “Gatwick has always been serious about encouraging the growth and development of a strong network of competing airports around the UK. This fund – and the measures we propose to support it – will improve connectivity to London for those that need it.
“Gatwick expansion is best for the UK and regions because it supports not only the growth of connectivity to London, but also more connectivity between all UK airports and international short and long haul destinations.
“Expanding Gatwick will provide more competition and choice for passengers all around the UK.”
Gatwick Airport is trailing its rival for support north of the Border, with the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) both backing an extra runway at Heathrow’s over Gatwick.
A consultation on the airports’ expansion plans ended in February and the Airports’ Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, is due to publish its final report this summer.
Meanwhile, the Department for Transport has reportedly drafted in city bankers, Rothschild, to provide financial advice to ministers and officials in the wake of Sir Howard’s final recommendation.
According to the Airport’s Commission, Gatwick’s second runway would require an outlay of £9.3bn, while Heathrow’s third runway plan is estimated to cost £18.6bn.
Britain had £16.9 billion Tourism Deficit in 2015 – which is 17.6% of UK total balance of payments deficit
Data from the ONS shows that in 2015, the Tourism Deficit (the difference between how much overseas visitors spend on their trips to the UK, and how much Brits spend on their trips abroad) rose to the 2nd highest level ever. The deficit was £16.9 billion in 2015, and £20.5 in 2008, but it fell during the years of the recession. It was around £13.7 billion in each year, 2012, 2013 and 2014. It has now increased again very significantly – by over £3 billion in one year. That makes up a large slice (17.6%) of the UK’s overall balance of payments deficit of £96.2 billion in 2015.The number of trips by UK residents abroad increased by 9.4% last year, the largest rise since 1998, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In 2015, UK residents took 65.7 million foreign holidays or business trips (business trips were only 10.9% of the total, while back in 2005 they were 12.9% of the total). In 2015 the number of trips by foreign visitors to the UK rose by 5.1%, to a record high of 36.1 million. But while foreigners spent £22.1 billion on visits to the UK, Brits spent £39 billion abroad. The French were the biggest visitors to the UK, with 4 million trips. Spain was the country with most visits by UK residents – with 13 million trips, nearly 20% of UK travel.
New GACC research paper indicates higher Gatwick charges for runway could lead to airlines moving to other airports
There is a problem about how Gatwick would pay for a 2nd runway, bearing in mind the airlines that use it are not keen on extra charges. Local campaign GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has produced a short research paper looking into the issue. “Paying for a new Gatwick runway.” They conclude that the steep rise in airport charges at Gatwick which would be needed to pay for a new runway could cause airlines to decamp to other airports such as Stansted or Luton. The GACC study is based on the estimates made by the Airports Commission that the cost of a new Gatwick runway would mean a rise in airport charges from the current £9 per passenger to £15 to £18, rising to £23 at the peak. Chairman of GACC, Brendon Sewill pointed out: “That is a rise of over 100% and would be serious shock for airlines. easyJet and BA have already expressed anxiety about higher charges, and their unwillingness to pay them. Stansted is at present half full and would be overjoyed to attract business from Gatwick.” Manchester airport is a salutary reminder of the risk; its new runway opened in 2000 but was followed by a fall in passenger numbers. Manchester airport is still only at about 60% of the capacity of a single runway. Competitive pressure from other airports could make the financing of a new Gatwick runway challenging.