In that long period of ownership, Heathrow could have invested significantly in protecting access to the former for Scots travellers, but it chose not to, in order to focus on more lucrative international routes. It is only thinking about the world outside London now because it needs political support for a new runway and sees Gatwick making an increasingly compelling case.
When Gatwick and then Edinburgh were freed from the BAA monopoly in 2009 and 2012 respectively, competition started to work to the benefit of passengers, manifesting itself in better customer service, greater choice of direct routes and sustained investment in modern facilities. Heathrow is of course free to do whatever it thinks right to recapture its monopoly position, but I hope discerning travellers and policy-makers – in Scotland and elsewhere – will see this latest attempt to buy support for a new runway as just that.
Gatwick’s exciting proposition puts passengers at the heart of this debate; we stand for competition and choice over monopoly every time.