Gatwick Airport has insisted it is “still in the race” for additional runway capacity despite Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission today recommending Heathrow for expansion.
Gatwick Airport said while it was for the Commission to make a recommendation it was for government to make the decision, and that when it comes to making that decision, goverment will recognise that Gatwick is the more deliverable option.
The government has previously said it will respond towards the end of the year.
Chancellor George Osborne has previously implied that government will endorse the Commission’s recommendation, telling business group the CBI’s annual dinner in May that “when we get Howard Davies’ report on a new runway in the South East, we’re going to take the decision and get it built”.
But Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate said that government could easily change its mind.
“Gatwick is still very much in the race. The Commission’s report makes clear that expansion at Gatwick is deliverable.
“It is for the Commission to make a recommendation but it is of course for the government to decide. So we now enter the most important stage of the process.
“We are confident that when the government makes that decision it will choose Gatwick as the only deliverable option. For instance, this report highlights the very significant environmental challenges at Heathrow such as air quality and noise impact.
“Gatwick will give the country the economic benefits it needs and at the same time impact far less people. It is quicker simpler and quieter. Above all – after decades of delay – it can actually happen.”
The Commission does leave the door open to Gatwick, suggesting that a second additional runway may be needed by 2050.