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Airports trade cases for expansion

Leading engineers at Gatwick and Heathrow airports went head to head to stake their claim for the next runway in the south of England yesterday.

Gatwick Airport construction director Derek Hendry said there was a “compelling case” for the South East’s next runway to be built at Gatwick.

“This would reinforce competition, support resilience and provide greater choice for passengers. If lower noise pollution is important then Gatwick is the best option,” he said.

“It is also affordable and deliverable. We have ambition for this backed up by a solid business plan.”

Hendy was speaking at NCE’s Airport Design and Engineering conference in London.

Heathrow Airport head of design strategy Barry Weekes laid out the case for Heathrow.

“We are aiming to be the best hub in Europe, the hub of choice,” Weekes said.

“The fear is that Heathrow will become a feeder airport to other European hubs that can meet passenger growth.

“This capacity needs to be in London,” he added.

He said Heathrow has an £11bn investment programme, which has included Terminal Five, plus construction of the new Terminal Two and the refurbishment of terminals three and four.

Weekes also commented on the “four runway” option currently being considered as part of Heathrow’s submission to the Davies Commission on airport capacity.

This would involve removing Heathrow’s existing runways and construct four new runways to the west (NCE 13 May).

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