Sir Howard Davies has dismissed Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate’s criticisms of the Airport Commission’s final report.
The Commission, chaired by Davies, last month recommended construction of a third runway at Heathrow to solve an air capacity crisis in the South East.
A rival expansion bid by Gatwick was turned down by the commission as plausible but unlikely to provide as many long-haul flights to new markets.
Wingate this week slammed that report as unreliable as Gatwick released a 50-page paper titled Airports Commission Final Report – Areas of Concern.
Davies said: “This dossier appears to repeat many points which Gatwick made to the commission in the course of its work and which, unsurprisingly, were carefully considered.
“They did not alter the commission’s view that Heathrow was the best option. Using colourful language, as Mr Wingate has done, does not turn weak points into strong ones, and does him and his company no credit.”
Wingate said: “We expected a well-considered examination of all options, but instead the final report contains so many omissions and basic errors that its reliability as the basis of aviation policy must be called into question. The findings of this report simply do not add up.
“Britain is in danger of losing out once again if we repeat mistakes of the past – Heathrow has failed time and again and the Airports Commission report and the conditions placed on expansion have not solved the huge obstacles confronting it.
“The recommendation for Heathrow is unravelling by the day. I remain confident that when all the risks and benefits are properly considered, Gatwick will still represent the best option for UK airport expansion.”
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “The Airports Commission undertook a £20M, two-and-a-half year, detailed study of where the next runway should be in the UK. It unanimously and unambiguously chose Heathrow because it is the only option that will connect the whole UK to global growth.”