The London airport expansion plans are hotly debated, with all parties having strong arguments to support their plans. But as the debate rages on without firm plans to move forward, other international airports keep reaping the benefits.
As Heathrow, Gatwick, and Boris Johnson’s Thames Estuary airport proposal battle it out in a bid to expand airport capacity for the city of London, Gatwick airport has put its bid for another runway in the forefront, highlighting the airport’s high-tech appeal.
Dialogue between Heathrow, Gatwick, and the government over moving forward with expansions of Gatwick airport and Heathrow have become heated as the two airports battle for government support of their respective expansion plans. Each airport has confronted and appealed to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, for support, should his own proposal for a third airport in the Thames Estuary be taken off the table; which will be determined this week as the Airports Commission meets.
On Sunday, Gatwick Airport replied to statements made by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to the London Evening Standard claiming the new Gatwick runway proposal would not deliver the hub capacity Britain needs.
London Gatwick CEO, Stewart Wingate, retorted in a official statement:
“We share the Mayor’s passion for wanting to keep London the best connected city in the world and limit the environmental damage to the Capital. What we need now is certainty that additional runway capacity will be delivered, and Gatwick is the obvious choice – it is deliverable and affordable, and is the best option for passengers.
“Expanding Gatwick would allow Heathrow to get better but not bigger, creating two world class airports in London that would compete to provide more connections to the rest of the world and better customer service. To do otherwise would diminish the choice available to ordinary British passengers, making it more expensive to go on holiday, to travel for business and to export goods and services.
“We support competition, reduced fares and two world-class airports serving the UK as a whole.
“Expanding Gatwick would also deliver £90 billion of economic benefit and create around 120,000 jobs across the UK.”
The airport emphasises its high-tech appeal as a contributing to this job growth, comparing Croydon to Silicon Valley. The airport lists a number of links with various high-tech firms which could be better served by the airport, including: Croydon Tech City; US tech giant Dyn’s £170 million deal to create “Silicon Beach” in Brighton; Google’s new London Headquarters at King’s Cross Central; the strong gaming cluster at Guilford which hosts game publishers Electronic Arts and Kuju; and the “Golden Triangle” of science and research developing between London, Cambridge, and Stevenage.
Gatwick Chief Information Officer, Mihael Ibbitson, said:
“Gatwick’s expansion plans not only meet Britain’s future aviation needs, they are also the best choice to support one of the UK’s major emerging industries. Gatwick is strategically positioned for the UK’s burgeoning science and technology industries. Through fast and direct train links to the airport, and more flights, lower fares and better connections to other European tech centres, an expanded Gatwick is the best choice to support the UK’s science and technology revolution.”
Photo credit: Farrell's London - image of a two-runway Gatwick/ Gatwick Airport.