Gatwick submits its 2nd runway plans to Airports Commission – little detail published, but loads of spin
Gatwick is submitting its proposal for a 2nd runway to the Airports Commission. Unlike Heathrow it has not produced a glossy version for the public, but says it has produced a 3,200 page “evidence-based” report. They claim it would produce more economic benefit to the UK and not cost the taxpayer anything. By contrast the KPMG report done in December for the Airports Commission said it might cost the taxpayer up to £17.7 billion. Gatwick claims: “The economic benefit to the UK of this enhanced competition will be £40 billion more than Heathrow’s 3rd runway.” Gatwick tries to make out their runway is an obvious choice, and say of their rival Heathrow: “Why tunnel part of the busiest motorway in Europe – the M25 – causing serious traffic disruption, when you can build on land already set aside for expansion?” They say: “The Gatwick proposal is best placed to align with key future trends – including continued market share gains by Low Cost Carriers, the spread of new technology hub-busting aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, and the rapid rise of new hubs in the Middle East and Far East.” Loads of positive spin, absolutely ignoring all the negatives associated with building an airport the size of Heathrow in semi-rural Sussex.
Gatwick airport says:
13 May 2014 (Gatwick airport press release)
- Expansion at Gatwick will enable more people to fly to more destinations – 10 million more passengers each year will be able to travel with a second runway at Gatwick than with a third runway at Heathrow
- Expansion at Gatwick will generate more competition, keeping fares low, and delivering £40 billion more in economic benefits to the UK than expansion at Heathrow
- A new runway at Gatwick can be delivered around five years earlier than a third runway at Heathrow at no additional cost or risk to the taxpayer
- Expansion at Gatwick will deliver over 120,000 jobs in London and the South East, rebalancing the economy away from an overheated M4 corridor
- Gatwick’s location South of London means far fewer people will be affected by noise – a second runway at Gatwick would impact only 14,000 people compared to the 240,000 people impacted by noise from Heathrow today
London Gatwick will tomorrow submit to the Airports Commission a 3,200 page, evidence-based report that shows clearly why expansion at Gatwick is the obvious solution to meeting the UK’s connectivity needs for the next generation.
A second runway at Gatwick will enable more people to fly to more destinations, earlier. It can be delivered more cost effectively, with a higher degree of certainty and much less planning, construction and financial risk.
Expansion at Gatwick will increase competition to destinations around the world from London’s airports which will deliver extra capacity at a lower cost and lower fares for all passengers. The economic benefit to the UK of this enhanced competition will be £40 billion more than Heathrow’s third runway. Furthermore, in contrast to the Heathrow case, this can be delivered at no additional cost or risk to the taxpayer.
Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick said: “As we reach this critical point in the aviation debate it is clear that the Airports Commission has a very real choice to make: expand Gatwick and create genuine competition in the market with lower fares for everyone, or move back to a London airport market dominated by a single player and saddle the next generation with higher air fares.
“Why would you choose to fly a quarter of a million more planes every year over one of the world’s most densely populated cities when instead you can fly them mostly over fields? Why tunnel part of the busiest motorway in Europe – the M25 – causing serious traffic disruption, when you can build on land already set aside for expansion? The choice is an obvious one. Expand the best and only deliverable option – Gatwick – and create a market that serves everyone.”
London Gatwick’s case for expansion builds on the strengths of the existing network of airports, which already serves London and the UK. It is the best solution on the grounds that:
Expanding Gatwick creates the market that works for all passengers
A two-runway Gatwick in competition with a two-runway Heathrow will encourage greater competition between airlines and airports, spur innovation, drive greater cost efficiencies and result in lower fares for passengers. Considering the effect of competition alone, we calculate that the UK economy would be better off by up to £30 billion over 60 years.
The alternative is returning to a market with one dominant player where passengers will end up paying more for less choice and less convenience.
Expanding Gatwick will deliver greater economic benefits for the whole of the UK
Expansion at Gatwick will give the UK the greatest economic boost, more quickly, and more flights to more destinations from London.
It will deliver an overall economic benefit to the UK of around £40 billion more than expansion at Heathrow and at no additional cost or risk to the taxpayer.
Expansion at Gatwick would attract new businesses creating an additional 120,000 jobs across London and the South East.
Only expansion at Gatwick will address the demands of the future and help maintain Britain’s leading position in the global race
Aviation is changing fast. It is important that any decision about where future runway capacity should go is one which best enables the UK aviation sector to adapt to market trends of the future rather than the patterns of the past.
The Gatwick proposal is best placed to align with key future trends – including continued market share gains by Low Cost Carriers, the spread of new technology hub-busting aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, and the rapid rise of new hubs in the Middle East and Far East. It is most likely that such trends will continue to reduce the relative importance of traditional transfer traffic through London, and will confirm that seeking to install a single dominant hub is not the best solution for the UK’s future needs.
Only Gatwick can cater for all airline models – full service, low-cost and charter – with affordable charges and facilities that enable fast and efficient aircraft turnaround times. The best choice is to build at Gatwick and develop a future proof solution that can support growth of all airline models.
The alternative is to build at Heathrow which excludes the low-cost business model which has transformed the market over the past decade and continues to be the main driver of innovation.
Only Gatwick is the deliverable option
What the UK needs above all is certainty that additional runway capacity will at last be delivered. With Gatwick now firmly at the centre of this debate there is greater certainty that a new runway could be built.
Gatwick’s second runway is a straightforward construction project, building a new runway on land already set aside for runway expansion. Unlike Heathrow, it doesn’t involve putting the busiest stretch of the busiest motorway in Europe into a tunnel, which would cost the UK in excess of £1bn in disruption.
The lower construction risk means a second runway at Gatwick could be built for £7.8 billion – considerably less than the cost of a new runway at Heathrow. This would result in airport charges (£12-15 per passenger at today’s prices) that would be around a third of the price of Heathrow’s and an operational second runway by 2025.
Many fewer homes will be under the flight path than at Heathrow but to support those most affected, Gatwick has introduced Europe’s most progressive noise and insulation scheme. If a second runway is built, Gatwick will also compensate those most affected with an offer of £1,000 per annum towards their Council Tax.
The many planning, environmental, surface access and political difficulties associated with Heathrow means there is considerable doubt whether another runway would ever get built – giving the Gatwick option much greater certainty.”
” Key statistics for a second runway Gatwick Airport
Notes in […] are comments by AirportWatch, not Gatwick airport
|An additional 260,000 flights by 2050 [per year]
|95 million passengers per year by 2050
|Gatwick can serve all airline business models
|Low cost, legacy, and charter
|Speed of delivery
|Operational by 2025
|£40 billion more than Heathrow
|Contribution to UK taxes
|£12-£15 in today’s prices
|Additional taxpayer funds
|Airport congestion charging
|Gatwick is already the most connected airport by rail. Post-expansion, there will be a direct link to 175 stations and more than 1,000 with one change [How is Gatwick not paying anything towards these rail improvements, from which it benefits?]
|Rail service frequency
|Gatwick’s rail capacity will be nearly tripled. Frequency of trains doubled. A train to Central London every 2.5 minutes
|Noise impacts today
|Gatwick: 3,650 people in 1,600 homes
Heathrow: 240,000 people in 100,000 homes [Gatwick means those within the 5 7dBALeq contour].Noise impacts with expansionGatwick: 14,200 people in 5,500 homes by 2050Gatwick will compensate Council Tax payers£1,000 per annum (index-linked) [Gatwick’s press release said this would be up to 4,100 households – not by any means all those affected. Link ]Homes required to be removed166Business premises affected286
List of airlines publicly supporting growth at Gatwick so far: Norwegian, Monarch, Vietnam Airlines, WOWAir
For a summary of Gatwick’s case for a second runway please click here.
Footage for media – a broadcast-quality CGI animation of Gatwick with two runways and general b-roll footage is available to download here
Images for media – CGI images of Gatwick with two runways and portrait images of CEO Stewart Wingate are available to download here
The short 2-page document is at:
“A second runway for Gatwick: the strategic argument” (summary) – 13 May 2014
In this strategic fit argument summary, the section on Environment is copied below:
Notes in […] are comments by AirportWatch, not Gatwick airport
Gatwick’s plan for a second runway will result in much lower noise and air pollution impacts affecting less than six per cent of the people currently affected by noise at Heathrow.
Around 3,650 people living in 1,600 homes around Gatwick are affected by aircraft noise today. At Heathrow, on the same basis, almost 240,000 people living in 100,000 homes are impacted by aircraft noise – more than the total number of people impacted by all other major Western European airports combined. [This means within the 57dB contour only ].
Many fewer homes will be under the flight path than at Heathrow but to support those few that are affected, Gatwick has introduced Europe’s most progressive noise and insulation scheme. If a second runway is built, Gatwick will also compensate those most affected [only at most 4,100 housholds, not all of them] with an offer of £1,000 per annum towards their Council Tax.
Gatwick is pursuing several industry-leading initiatives to drive down carbon emissions and would continue to meet the legal air quality standards which Heathrow regularly breaches today.
and its bit on People says:
Gatwick will cause the lowest level of housing loss, and will have the least impact on people’s quality of life.
Gatwick’s impact on the local community will continue to be much lower than Heathrow’s, which already has major adverse effects on quality of life. Nine hundred and fifty homes – including an entire town – will need to be demolished to expand Heathrow as opposed to the removal of 163 homes at Gatwick.
Gatwick will remain committed to continuing its work with the local community to ensure that it benefits from the new opportunities offered by an expanded Gatwick airport, and to ensure that adverse effects are avoided wherever possible and otherwise mitigated.
GACC says the public misled by Gatwick’s “consultation” – with far higher figures in airport’s submission to Airports Commission
GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has now studied the new runway plans announced by Gatwick Airport Ltd on 13 May. Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC said: “They are horrendous – much larger in scale than in the recent consultation. The proposals will so infuriate local people that they will be determined to oppose the runway scheme at every stage. Any hopes that the airport may have had of building a new runway on time will have disappeared.” The new plans are set out in a 3,200 page document that has been sent to the Airports Commission but which has not been published. The Gatwick press summary shows that the new airport would be bigger than anything previously envisaged. The maximum number of passengers per year has gone up to 97 million compared to a maximum of 87 million in the consultation. That would make Gatwick much bigger than Heathrow today (72 million in 2013), and nearly three times as big as Gatwick today (35 million). The new plans show utter disdain for the 6,000 people who have visited the runway exhibitions during the past months “consultation”, and for the thousands more who have responded online. It is clear that Gatwick’s owners had already decided on their preferred option. GACC has been proved 100% correct it was a phoney consultation.