Gatwick steps up attack on rejection of second runway

Gatwick Airport has stepped up its attack on the Davies Commission - which recommended expansion at Heathrow over a second runway last month.

Gatwick Airport 5-1-15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150601-100616001
Gatwick Airport 5-1-15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150601-100616001

It has released a 50-page report highlighting its areas of concern, and has argued that the commission’s findings were ‘inconsistent and flawed’.

But campaigners against a second runway responded by telling Gatwick to ‘shut up and accept defeat’.

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Stewart Wingate, chief executive officer at Gatwick Airport, 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.”

Sir Howard Davies, speaking at Crawley in 2014 as the Airports Commission gathered evidence before its report recommending expansion at Heatrhow

The Tory Government has yet to accept Sir Howard Davies’ recommendation to back expansion at Heathrow, and a decision is not expected until later this year.

His final report, released at the start of July, found that the economic benefits of expanding Gatwick were ‘considerably smaller’ than those of expansion at Heathrow, while its conclusions were ‘clear and unanimous’.

However Gatwick claims several assumptions fundamentally underplay traffic through the airport with and without a second runway, and overplay predictions for Heathrow.

It also argued that the economic benefit of a second runway was underestimated, and not enough weight was given to its deliverability, financing, costs, air quality, and noise.

Mr Wingate added: “I remain confident that when all the risks and benefits are properly considered, Gatwick will still represent the best option for UK airport expansion.”

But the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) argued that the commission expected slow growth at Gatwick because of competition from Stansted, while its business case had not adequately addressed how surface infrastructure would be funded.

Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, said: “Why not shut up and accept defeat.”

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