Gatwick received another boost to its expansion campaign this week, with Birmingham Airport backing its campaign.
The support stems from the fact that Birmingham Airport’s CEO, Paul Kehoe firmly believes that people want to fly long haul from their local airport, or at the very least have more choice, rather than being forced to travel into the centre of London.
Citing that his own airport has attracted 12 new long haul routes this year alone, is proof that long haul demand is high outside of Heathrow. Mr Kehoe said that expansion at the UK’s second largest airport, and world’s busiest single runway airport, would bring “greater competition and choice across the UK’s long haul airports”.
Speaking in more detail about Gatwick’s expansion bid, and the benefits that expansion would bring, Mr Kehoe said, “The decision on where the south-east’s next runway should be built is of national significance. It not only affects London but passengers and businesses across the UK as well.
“Of the two options before the government, we support Gatwick’s expansion plan because it will foster greater competition among airports and allow other UK long haul airports to continue to compete and grow their own direct services.
“Heathrow’s plan could constrain this growth with the direct international connections that airports like Birmingham have fought for being lost to west London.
“A decision for Heathrow would simply mean a return to the monopoly of the past, reducing choice, increasing fares and threatening the business of Birmingham and other UK airports.”
Having postponed the decision over which airport to expand, Gatwick or Heathrow, the Government are expected to announce their plans later this summer. However, with the impending Brexit results many believe the decision will be postponed again.
Delighted with this key show of support, Birmingham is the UK’s seventh busiest airport, Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport said, “Expansion at Gatwick will deliver exactly the same number of passengers to the same number of worldwide destinations as expanding Heathrow. The only difference is that, with Gatwick expansion, those connections are better spread across the UK’s major airports, including Birmingham.
“Expanding Gatwick will enhance competition between UK airports, providing a low-cost alternative that serves the London and south-east market, but doesn’t cannibalise future growth from regional airports.
“For the UK to achieve truly balanced economic growth, aviation policy must nurture growth in direct flights from airports such as Birmingham, instead of using taxpayers’ money to concentrate our global connections in west London.”