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View from 22 podcast special: Should Gatwick Airport be expanded?

7 July 2014

In this special View from 22 podcast, Fraser Nelson discusses the case for the expansion of Gatwick Airport. Guest speakers include Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport, Mark Reckless, Tory MP for Rochester and Strood and Karen Lumley, Tory MP for Redditch and a member of the Transport Select Committee.


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  • Veronica Wilson

    Located 28 miles (45km) south of central London, Gatwick Airport is the second biggest airport in the UK and the world’s most-efficient single-runway airport. Serving approximately 36 million passengers a year, the airport is owned and operated by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and a group of its co-investors. The £1bn ($1.57bn) investment plan at Gatwick includes major upgrade to the north terminal. Lets see how this turns out to be.

  • HookesLaw

    Yes we should and we should build another at Standsted. We should also build a third runway at Heathrow but not allow any effective increase in capacity (or only marginal at best) – this would decrease the congestion at Heathrow and make it a more reliable airport. The measures taken together might allow Heathrow better to serve business traffic to and through London
    We can improve capacity at Luton as well while we ar at it and then London would be served by 4 efficient airports.

    • texasfrank

      Plurality of supply of airport capacity is surely important, to avoid monopolistic behaviour. But we need a single airport that’s big enough to serve as a proper hub for intercontinental connections.

      The point of extra runways is extra capacity, so building a third runway at LHR without more flights is pretty much guaranteed to be a waste of money – so won’t happen.

      To my mind, the obvious answer is to build two more runways at Heathrow and be done with it. I favour the inline scheme suggested by Heathrow Hub: it delivers the capacity quickest and with least disruption. As a second choice, Heathrow’s official suggestion for additional NW and SW runways would also do the job.

      But crucially let’s declare NOW that we will build TWO more runways, so we don’t have to go through all this again in 20 years’ time.

      • IainRMuir

        “But crucially let’s declare NOW that we will build TWO more runways, so we don’t have to go through all this again in 20 years’ time.”

        Inclined to agree. Regular incremental upgrades, each one too little and too late, is exactly what we should be trying to avoid. At least Heathrow has rail links and two new terminals, and most locals probably arrived after the airport, which devalues their opposition in my opinion.

        Whatever is proposed will receive fierce opposition, but decisions need to be taken now.

      • HookesLaw

        Congestion around Heathrow is bad enough without doubling capacity.

        there is a real dilema because all of the associated infrastructure is based around Heathrow. I see no reason with 3 runways but restricted capacity why Heathrow cannot act as the hub airport. It can be linked by fast train to Gatwick. Northolt can come into the equation as well maybe for short haul.

        • texasfrank

          The projections would not see LHR’s capacity doubled. Having 4 runways would allow each to run at somewhat less than the near-100% required now. That said, it would be significantly more than now.

          As to congestion, much of that is due not to the airport itself but due to the confluence of some major motorways. That’s not to say that some further road upgrades won’t be needed, but that is inevitable anyway: the south-east remains the most crowded part of our island and the population is only going to increase. However, the Heathrow Hub plan includes a major upgrade to public transport connections, which should reduce the hit somewhat.

          On your final suggestion, I have two points. I really don’t think it’s viable to create some kind of virtual hub by connecting multiple airports together, no matter how good the transport links ostensibly are. And certainly as regards Northolt, as I understand it the runway would need to be re-aligned not to interfere with LHR ATC, and any increase in traffic there would no doubt be to the detriment of residents nearby.

          Finally, that point reminds me of another thing about expanding Heathrow. The airport has been there a long time, and all the folks who live near it bought their houses in the knowledge they were close to a world-scale major airport, with all the pros and cons that brings. Doing something massive somewhere else starts to hit a load of different people who never had that expectation.

        • Flintshire Ian

          I don’t think that I have ever witnessed a take off or landing from the A40 at Northolt in all of the many times that I have driven past. So I am sure that there is capacity to take some of the short haul stuff from Healthrow – but its not exactly congestion free around that part of N W London either?

  • IainRMuir

    No, in my opinion. It would be more making do with string and sellotape.

    We should do what other sensible countries do – build a proper new airport designed for 21st century needs, and return the rest (or most of them) to housing, farming, industry or whatever. So-called environmental damage in the chosen location would be offset by the closure of the rest.

    Whatever we decide, we should at least get on with it. This fanny arsing around is ridiculous.

    • you_kid

      “We should do what other sensible countries do – build a proper new airport designed for 21st century needs”
      With all due respect – that is what the Second World do, not the First. Is England an emerging market?

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