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Don't forget the passenger!
15 March 2013
Gatwick Airport has submitted its list of suggested criteria the Airports Commission should use to determine which airport locations would be suitable for further study.
Gatwick’s recommended evaluation criteria includes: demand, capacity and connectivity, environmental impacts, competition, financial and economic issues, social and community issues, the end-to-end passenger experience, resilience and deliverability.
Whilst Gatwick is broadly supportive of the Airport Commission’s proposed criteria, the airport recommends that greater emphasis should be placed on the passenger experience, and to competition being a key enabler of that. Gatwick also considers that resilience should be a factor in its own right in view of the importance of improving the levels of resilience across the London airports.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s Chief Executive said: ”The aviation industry and how passengers choose to travel is very different today to what is was when previous runway capacity options were reviewed. We now have the three largest London airports all in separate ownership competing for passengers and airlines, and each with the freedom to connect the UK to anywhere in the world and keep Britain competitive. That means we must adapt our thinking around what is possible and the assessment criteria must reflect that.
“We strongly recommend that the Airport Commission factor in competition, resilience and the passenger experience when assessing which options will deliver the right outcome for London and the UK. We have the opportunity to reach the best outcome for a generation and to do this we must use the most appropriate evaluation criteria.”
Gatwick’s recommended evaluation criterion falls into eight categories:
Demand Capacity and Connectivity: It is critical that we keep London and the UK connected to the rest of the world by providing capacity in time to meet the needs of air passengers. It is vital therefore that the Commission fully assesses what that level of demand is in the UK, and for the South East in particular, and how each option can satisfy that demand.
Environmental impact: Understanding and minimising the environmental impacts of aviation on local communities, including noise and air quality, is key. The role of aviation and airport expansion on climate change also needs to be considered.
End-to-end passenger experience: Passengers should be central to this debate and all options should be assessed against whether they offer passengers the greatest convenience and choice as they travel to and through an airport.
Competition: Part of the rationale behind the break-up of the BAA monopoly in the South East was to improve the passenger experience. The role of competition between independently owned airports is therefore a new factor to be assessed by the Commission. An assessment should be made on the effects on airport and airline competition on each expansion option and the implications of that on passengers with regard to air fares, quality of service and passenger experience.
Financial and economic factors: The business case for any expansion option is critical and options should be assessed against the part they can play in providing economic growth – locally and nationally. The financeability of any expansion option should also be a key assessment criterion with a focus on using private investments to avoid significant subsidy from the public purse.
Social and community issues: Airports have significant impacts on local communities – positive and negative – and these should be taken into account. The social benefits of air travel should be maximised whilst minimising the impacts on people and communities.
Resilience: Any expansion option should include an assessment of resilience, including how extreme weather scenarios would be accommodated in the expansion options proposed.
Deliverability: The issue of deliverability is important given the timetable that has been set for the Commission and the fact that the three major airports in the South East will be full by the mid-2020s. It is vital that expansion options are assessed against how quickly and efficiently they can be delivered through the planning and construction phases.
To view Gatwick’s submission to the Airports Commission on the sifting criteria please clicks here.
The airport has also today submitted comments on the Department for Transport’s demand forecasts, which it believes are a good starting point for understanding how demand could grow. Gatwick’s own traffic forecasts supports the DfTs analysis that airports in the South East will be full by the mid-2020s and that more runway capacity is going to be needed.
To view Gatwick’s response to the Airport Commission’s demand forecasting paper please click here.
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About Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the busiest single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 180 destinations in 90 countries for around 34.2 million passengers a year on short- and long-haul point-to-point services. It is also a major economic driver for the South-East region, generating around 23,000 on-airport jobs and a further 13,000 jobs through related activities. The airport is 28 miles south of London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.
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