Gatwick Airport has made the latest move in its expansion campaign with the publication of a poll showing support from Londoners.
The YouGov survey of more than 1,000 adults in the capital last month revealed that more backed a second runway at Gatwick than a third landing strip at Heathrow.
The Airports Commission last summer recommended that a third runway be built at Heathrow to tackle the air capacity crisis in the South East. But rival bids to build a second runway at Gatwick and to expand an existing landing strip at Heathrow remain in the running as the government has delayed a final decision until this summer.
In the YouGov poll, 46% said they would prefer an expansion of Gatwick than Heathrow, given a straight choice. Just 34% preferred Heathrow, with the remaining 20% unsure.
Gatwick was preferred by Londoners on six of the seven grounds mentioned in the poll, with Heathrow winning on economic benefits. Those surveyed said Gatwick would be the better choice for impact on neighbours, competition, cost, speed and certainty of delivery, and regeneration.
Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “Time after time Londoners say Gatwick expansion is best for the environment, for the taxpayer, regeneration, competition and for speed of delivery.”
But Heathrow Airport said it had backing from business groups, trade unions, exporters, MPs and local communities.
“A third runway will be the UK’s best value for money infrastructure project, giving Britain the most connected and sustainable hub airport in the world by adding more than 40 direct long-haul routes while meeting environmental and legal air quality limits,” Heathrow insisted in a statement.
”It’s time to follow the Airports Commission’s clear and unambiguous recommendation for Heathrow - let’s get on with it.”