Skip down to main content.
11 July 2013
London Gatwick today responded to the Airports Commission’s wide ranging questions contained within its’ Airports Operational Models’ paper, particularly on the future trends in aviation, and on the advantages and disadvantages of the Hub Model.
The background to this is that Gatwick is putting forward a proposal for London being served by a ‘constellation’ of three of the major London airports – Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted – each, in time, with two runways and Gatwick first in line to get the next runway.
Our evidence shows that the ‘constellation’ approach will deliver the air connectivity London needs to remain a World City and for the UK to retain its status as one of the best connected countries in the world.
We also believe that Gatwick’s proposal is the only option that will create a level playing field between the airports and deliver true competition, which is necessary to drive higher frequencies, new routes and at better prices for the passenger. Spreading capacity around London will also make airports more resilient to disruption and keep London and the UK open for business, whatever the weather or incident. It will also have significantly less environmental impact than other options such as expansion at Heathrow, which today impacts more people from a noise perspective than all of the other Western European hubs combined.
The position of London today, as a World City with the largest aviation market in the world based on passenger numbers, is not the result of having a ‘hub’ airport. Rather, it is the result of consistent government policy fostering liberalisation of the airline market and competition between airports. Other world cities, including New York, Tokyo, Paris and Moscow, operate a multi-airport or ‘constellation’ system, and handle greater numbers of passengers than cities relying on a single ‘hub’ airport.
London Gatwick believes the Airports Commission is right to underline that the aviation market is in constant flux and trends in travel are changing. Around the world we see low cost carriers integrating with full service carriers; WestJet in Canada, Jet Blue in the US and Virgin Australia are all integrating with long haul carriers. Also, the advent of ‘hub busting’ aircraft technology, such as Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350, will mean many more passengers flying direct to their destinations.
Given the uncertainty which surrounds the future of the aviation market, Gatwick’s advice to the Airports Commission is that nobody can predict with confidence precisely what the future will look like, and that to make key decisions by looking in the aviation industry’s ‘rear-view mirror’ could put the UK‘s connectivity at risk.
London Gatwick’s Chief Executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “It is clear from the evidence we are gathering, with the help of some of the world’s leading aviation experts, that we need to develop an airports system in London and the South East that is robust and flexible enough to adapt to any future outcome. A two-runway Gatwick, as part of a constellation of three major airports surrounding London, is the best option to provide flexibility in addressing an industry whose only constant is change.”
Table weighing the advantages / disadvantages of hub versus non-hub capacity
Constellation of airports
Competition and choice
Dominant market power leads to reduced competition – higher fares, less innovation, poor customer service, and reduced choice.
Creates more competitive fares, drives innovation and service standards, and provides greater choice.
Benefits legacy airline models.
Encourages more connectivity to develop across all UK airports – a better result for passengers and UK Plc.
Potential for major noise, pollution and surface access issues for local residents.
Distributes environmental impacts of expansion.
Operational issues and bad weather mean cancellations and delays for passengers. This also impacts the reputation of UK Plc.
Offers more recovery options and gives passengers certainty – airports don’t plan to fail.
Protects the reputation of UK Plc.
Less equitable distribution of costs and benefits.
Would make London and the UK’s connectivity more expensive.
Distributes costs and benefits across a greater area.
Creates a multiple gateway to London, following the example set by cities such as New York and Tokyo.
High project costs with significant risks
A more affordable option for delivering growth that will give passengers, communities and businesses the certainty they need.
To view Gatwick’s full submission to the Airports Commission please click here.
To learn more about Gatwick’s vision for the future go to: http://bettersolution.gatwickairport.com
About the London aviation market
London is the largest aviation market in the world based on the total number of passengers and also the number of international passengers.
Noise impact of Heathrow: Airports Commission: Discussion Paper 05: Aviation Noise. Figure 2.2 Page 9. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/210877/airports-commission-noise.pdf
Technical experts appointed by Gatwick Airport to support runway expansion plans
ICF SH&E provides objective, independent regulatory, technical, financial, and commercial guidance to aviation clients. Gatwick works with ICF SH&E to collate passenger traffic forecasts and data on connectivity. For more information visit www.icfi.com
Dr Richard de Neufville
Dr. de Neufville is renowned worldwide for his applications in Airport Systems Planning, Design and Management. He has been associated with major airport projects in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia – as well as others in Africa and Latin America.
He is the author of Airport Systems Planning, Design, and Management (with Dr. Amedeo Odoni, McGraw-Hill 2003, 2nd ed. 2013) and five other related texts and many journal articles, particularly on the topic of the operation of multiple airports in a metropolitan region.
Dr de. Neufville earned a Ph.D. from MIT in 1965 and then served as a first White House Fellow for President Lyndon Johnson. He is currently Professor of Engineering Systems and of Civil and Environmental Engineering, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge, MA, USA.
About InterVISTAS Consulting
InterVISTAS Consulting is owned by Royal Haskoning DHV. InterVISTAS Consulting is a leading management consulting company with extensive expertise in aviation, transportation and tourism. Our exceptional people have successfully delivered projects in over 70 countries around the world.
Dr Mike Tretheway
Dr. Tretheway is Chief Economist and Chief Strategy Officer with the InterVISTAS Consulting Group. He is a co-founder of the InterVISTAS Consulting Group and has served as its Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Tretheway earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin and served for 14 years as Associate Professor of Transportation and Logistics in the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, where he continues as an Adjunct Professor. He is a member of the Board of Experts of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. Before co-founding InterVISTAS Consulting he served as Vice President of the Vancouver International Airport Authority. Dr. Tretheway has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Air Transport Management, the Quarterly Journal of Finance and Accounting, and Logistics & Transportation Review.
Mike is considered one of the leading transportation economists in the world. He serves as an expert witness and advisor to governments, airlines, airports, ports and railways. He has conducted work throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa and Europe.
t: + 44 (0) 1293 505000
About London Gatwick
Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the most efficient single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 200 destinations in 90 countries for around 38 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 21,000 on-airport jobs and a further 10,000 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.
In its December 2013 interim report, the Airports Commission included London Gatwick and Heathrow on its shortlist of potential locations for a new runway in the UK. Expansion at Gatwick will best meet the UK’s aviation needs for the future, can provide the greatest economic boost with the least environmental impact, and a new runway can be operational by 2025. For further information, see: www.gatwickobviously.com
Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatwick_Airport
© Gatwick Airport Limited
Media Centre by Glide Newsroom