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22 - Oct - 2014

Won’t move, can’t move; Gatwick Expansion not equal to airlines shifting base.

Gatwick has been pushing for the award for the expansion of airlines through the building of a second runway. This however, does not guarantee the increase of airlines preferring Gatwick to Heathrow. Global airlines will continue to jostle for space in Heathrow even if a second runway s built at Gatwick. Delta airlines says it will not shift services from Heathrow in the event Gatwick wins the expansion. The business travel section of the market that surrounds Heathrow is too valuable to loose. This is the section of the market that is driving growth in aviation. To Delta a solution for England’s air travel includes some form of expansion at Heathrow. This plays into Heathrow’s bid to win the expansion.

Of Britain’s 300 most profitable companies 200 of them have headquarters within a 25 mile radius of Heathrow airport. This coupled with effective high speed transport links make Heathrow the airport of choice for most passengers who are coming to London for business. Transferring operations to Gatwick would automatically mean that the airline will lose this crucial market segment.

Gatwick is still having its supporters, top among them Frances Haigh. This liberal democrat’s leader said that not only would Gatwick expand the airport services it would also lead to the improvement of the rail network and A24 and A23 roads. This would have a ripple effect on the improvement of social amenities that would generally go a long way to help improve the quality of life in West Sussex. This argument is not gaining traction with airlines who claim theirs is business not social development. They therefore will follow the money and clearly the money is at Heathrow.