Prime Edition

Expected Gatwick airport expansion will make UK travel cheaper
Antonia Filmer  London | 10th Jan 2015

ll political parties in the UK are steering the conversation away from the option of building new runways at Heathrow and Gatwick airports. They are, instead, waiting for the decision of the Airports Commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies, which will come immediately after the general election in May.

Charles Kirwan-Taylor, Gatwick airport's director of corporate affairs and sustainability says there is a growing consensus for expansion: "Until recently, Gatwick was not considered an option for expansion, for a number of historic reasons. Now, the airport is increasingly viewed as the obvious choice."

The case for London Gatwick (LGW) is that an expansion is much cheaper, quicker and more straightforward to deliver, as the airport has already safeguarded the necessary land. And unlike London Heathrow (LHR), no tunnel is necessary to reroute the M25 motorway. Perhaps most importantly, a new runway at LHR invites 130,000 extra planes a year over residential London; that is three quarters of a million people disturbed by the noise. LGW claims that only 5% of that figure will be affected by its runway plans.

Sir Terry Farrell, the architect chosen for Gatwick's smart airport ambitions, lives in a WWII warplane manufacturing factory in North London. Farrell is no stranger to complex design briefs. He has previously revamped MI6 and the UK Home Office, Charing Cross, Beijing and Guangzhou high speed railway stations and Incheon airport in South Koreashowing how digital age technology can be used to connect systems and networks.

{
The case for London Gatwick (LGW) is that an expansion is much cheaper, quicker and more straightforward to deliver, as the airport has already safeguarded the necessary land.

The argument for London Heathrow is that it is an existing hub and therefore should expand, as a hub allows for the development of routes which would otherwise not have enough traffic to make them viable. However, four counter arguments arise. Why build a new runway for the 5% of travellers who would benefit from these new routes and in so doing make travel more expensive for the other 95%? LHR is already unaffordable to low cost airlines that are driving the future growth of air travel. In fact, transit traffic has become less relevant than before as the new generation of modern aircraft do not need so many passengers on board to make a route profitable. Lastly, LGW is entirely privately funded by its shareholders, whereas LHR expansion would require additional infrastructure, costing an extra £5.7 billion, which would have to be funded by the government.

Finally, an historic policy point comes into play: in 2009 LGW was in common ownership with LHR, but this position was broken up by the Competition Commission, as it was regarded as uncompetitive. This decision provided passengers with lower fares, better service, more choice and increased innovation; if the competition is increased all of these factors will further improve, whereas if LHR regains a dominant position all those benefits will be lost.

And if Gatwick wins, that may be good news for Indian travellers who want to fly to another destination airport in London, at a lower cost than to Heathrow.

 
Newer | Older

Creative-for-SG


iTv Network : newsX India News Media Academy aaj Samaaj  
  Powered by : Star Infranet