There are so many obstacles standing between Heathrow and their proposed new runway, that any imagined economic benefit will always remain just that.
In contrast, a second runway at Gatwick can actually be delivered and will ensure the huge economic benefits of expansion are realised.
It will generate new growth and jobs, and can be built for around £7.8 billion funded by its private owners, without needing money from the taxpayer. This also means that the charges to airlines – and costs passed on to passengers – will all be lower.
Following the Airports Commission's final report, we believe the choice on costs is becoming much clearer. Heathrow is effectively asking the taxpayer for a subsidy of around £6billion at a very tight time for the public finances to construct their third runway. Gatwick remains confident that airport charges will not rise above £15 with our second runway scheme.
Our plans will provide an economic boost far beyond Gatwick and beyond London, to other regions – to the North, to Scotland and to Ireland.
Expansion at Gatwick will attract new clusters of high intensity businesses which will create 120,000 jobs. The benefits of growth, including jobs and housing, will be spread more evenly through the capital and region and not just focussed on the already congested areas of West London and the Thames Valley.
Gatwick can create more than 22,000 airport-related jobs by 2050 and contribute £1.73 billion per year to the local economy.
As an airport, we already support more than 25,000 jobs directly and indirectly by employing people in industries like aviation, technology, catering, and leisure. So growth has an immediate impact on those employment markets.
Not surprisingly perhaps, we have a good relationship with our local businesses and other community leaders who are keen to ensure our plans are not just robust in terms of having a low environmental, noise and air quality impact, but who also want to see their region thrive in terms of new jobs, new opportunities, and economic regeneration.
Expansion at Gatwick will increase competition to destinations around the world from London’s airports which will deliver extra capacity at a lower cost and lower fares for passengers.
The Airports Commission has noted that Gatwick’s scheme has the flexibility to accommodate a range of business models and airline types, and would result in “roughly a doubling of existing capacity at Gatwick and is sufficient to meet the Commission’s assessment of need for new capacity by 2030”.
We estimate the economic benefit to the UK of this enhanced competition will be greater than Heathrow’s proposal. Furthermore, in contrast to the Heathrow case, this can be delivered at no additional cost or risk to the taxpayer.
Sir Terry Farrell, one of the UK’s leading architecture planners said:
"I have no doubt that with a second runway, Gatwick will deliver more balanced, and more widely spread, economic growth for London and the South East.
Expansion at Gatwick could do for South London and the wider region what the Olympics did for East London and give a huge boost in terms of jobs, housing and regeneration."
The unique position of Gatwick to the south of London, well connected to the capital and beyond, makes the case for expansion here particularly strong. It can help drive growth in South London and beyond without the impact of planes flying over the capital.
Today you can travel direct to 129 rail stations from Gatwick. There are Gatwick Express trains every quarter of an hour to London Victoria, 30 minutes away, and we are 28 minutes from London Bridge, providing a fast route to the economic powerhouse of the City.
The ability to create more jobs across the region as well as in Croydon and wider South London and across the other major growth corridors in the South East means Gatwick punches above its weight in economic terms.
It also means that pressure for housing, to accommodate all the new people and new jobs, is not focused just on one part of the South East – a better transport network means housing and other demands are more easily accommodated over a wider area.
For example, New York and Paris each have three airports serving them in a similar network – Beijing, Tokyo and Moscow have two airports, which they also use to spread capacity out and also spread economic benefit.
Better transport links will see the benefits of this regeneration spread over a wide area, enabling people to get to their jobs more quickly, and improving services and industries that depend on aviation for their success.
A new runway at Gatwick, strengthening its position as a gateway for London and the UK, would meet the aviation needs of the future more quickly and with more certainty than Heathrow’s plans.
Unlike Heathrow’s plans, this would not damage other airports but enhance them, delivering a balanced increase in capacity across all the other London airports and at Birmingham, making them each major international gateways into London and the UK.
Our vision would stoke the economic engine of London and the South East and spread the benefit right across the UK.
It would also mean that building one new runway would create two world class airports - expansion at Gatwick would ease the pressure Heathrow is under, giving passengers more choice, and ensuring that London, and Britain, remains competitive in the world market.
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