Gatwick Airport has renewed its appeal to Sir Howard Davies to reject calls for a mega-hub airport as the solution to the UK’s air capacity crisis.
The airport operator submitted its detailed proposals for expansion to the Davies-led Airports Commission last week.
It has again insisted that a second runway at Gatwick would be a more effective way of boosting air capacity in the South East than a third runway at Heathrow.
Gatwick insisted mega-airports in the Middle East and Far East, along with new aircraft capable of longer journeys, would reduce the need for the type of UK hub envisaged by Heathrow.
“Aviation is changing fast,” said Gatwick in a statement about its submission. “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 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.”
Gatwick said its expansion plan would allow it to increase annual passenger numbers by 10M more than Heathrow’s proposal.
This would largely be achieved by serving more international short-haul destinations.
Gatwick claimed its expansion plan would be quicker to deliver and less disruptive than Heathrow’s. It added that at £7.8bn the cost would be half that of Heathrow’s plan.
London Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “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.”