Gatwick’s take-off plan is backed by Edinburgh boss

A Second runway at London’s Gatwick airport is “the only viable option” for the UK, the boss of Edinburgh Airport has said.

Gatwick Airport is vying with Heathrow. Picture: PA
Gatwick Airport is vying with Heathrow. Picture: PA

The Capital’s airport had already voiced support for a second runway at Gatwick, and Edinburgh Airport CEO Gordon Dewar, speaking at a party conference event, called Gatwick “the only viable option” in the UK airport expansion debate.

His comments came ahead of a meeting this morning between Gatwick bosses and members of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, to discuss the economic benefits that would be delivered to Edinburgh businesses by a second Gatwick runway.

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Gatwick’s breakfast event at The Glasshouse in Edinburgh was the latest in a series of roadshows at Chambers of Commerce in England, Scotland and Wales to discuss the airports capacity debate and key issues for UK businesses. Visits to Aberdeen and Inverness are also planned next month.

The success of Edinburgh Airport was highlighted as a key example of why greater competition is needed among UK airports, and it is expected that if there is an expansion of Gatwick, the Capital would see more choice of flights to London, which in turn could encourage more business to the airport and the city.

And Gatwick bosses warmed an expansion of Heathrow could see “a return to the stale monopoly of the past”.

Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: “Our message to Scottish travellers and business is clear: Gatwick stands for choice and competition, creating new routes, low fares and better customer service.

“Building another runway at Heathrow would be a backward step, creating a high-cost monopoly provider of long-haul air services in London, that adds cost to every passenger and every business wanting to move people and goods and services in and out of the UK.”

Edinburgh Airport had drawn up plans to build its own second runway, but dropped those in 2011, saying there would be no need for such a develoment for at least 20 years. Instead, since new owners Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) took over in 2012, the airport has focused on increasing its long haul routes – adding to some of the world’s major hubs such as Doha, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Toronto – and improving its infrastructure. GIP also own Gatwick.

It is now competing “vigorously” with Glasgow Airport, and Mr Dewar said the only way such competition would continue was for a second runway to be created at Gatwick.

“It is essential for the United Kingdom that airports policy puts the needs of passengers at its heart, and is designed in the best interests of the country as a whole,” he said. “Edinburgh Airport believes that the plans being worked on by Gatwick represent the most realistic and deliverable proposals in terms of providing short, medium and long-term capacity for growth.”