Gatwick is reportedly promising to cap landing charges for 30 years and cover the main risks of expansion.
Airport chairman Sir Roy McNulty has written to the Airports Commission setting out five promises including a guarantee to keep charges per passenger at £15 plus inflation for 30 years and a pledge to have a new runway operational by 2025.
The guarantees would only hold if Gatwick were the only airport chosen for a new runway.The project does not work economically if both go ahead,” he said. “If part of the incremental traffic is taken by [one airport]…it would be very difficult. The economics do not work for two at a time.”
Sir Roy said the guarantees would make clear the commercial basis of Gatwick’s bid for expansion, the Financial Times reported.“There is a lot of talk about the pros and cons of the schemes,” he said. “In the end . . . this is about what sort of deal this is for passengers, for the government and for those communities around the airport.”
As well as the cap on airport charges, and a firm start date for operation, Gatwick promised that it would “bear all the main risks of the expansion programme . . . including long-term risks related to traffic levels, market pricing, construction and operating costs”.The airport also reiterated its pledge to pay £1,000 a year towards the council tax of local residents affected by significant levels of aircraft noise and to maintain air quality levels within current legal limits.
Sir Roy added: “Choose Gatwick and any government can do so knowing that airport expansion will not be a drain on the public finances – and even more importantly it can actually happen.
“These guarantees give airlines and passengers confidence that they will not have to pay much higher air fares through higher airport charges.
“These guarantees also provide a progressive solution where those most affected by noise are directly compensated and the environment is protected. I believe that increased spending on noise mitigation and direct compensation for local communities must be an essential element of any plan for runway expansion.
“Both Heathrow and Gatwick have support. But after years of delay most people agree on one thing – something needs to happen.
“This is the first time Gatwick has been seriously considered for expansion, and only Gatwick can guarantee that Britain gets the runway it needs.”
The “30 year contract”
Asked what this contact says, or whether it exists, below is what Gatwick senior management have said:
“The exact nature of the thirty year contract has yet to be finalised – its purpose would be to clarify the commercial and regulatory environment in which we would be operating, including the anticipated timing of any new runways beyond that granted to Gatwick. Whilst we understand that one government cannot bind a future government irreversibly, if there was a legal contract in place and the future proved different from that which had been committed to, the contract could also govern what might happen in those circumstances.”
Make of that what you can !
See also FT article at