A third runway at Heathrow would “stifle competition” and leave Scotland “feeding a steroid-enhanced” hub at the expense of its own growth, the chairman of Edinburgh Airport has warned.
Sir John Elvidge said the case for expanding Heathrow was based on an “old-fashioned assumption that we in Scotland are to be forever dependent on a giant monopoly airport in the South East”.
Sir John said Scottish passengers had benefitted from increased competition after the break up of BAA, which transformed Glasgow and Edinburgh airports into rivals where previously they had been members of the same group.
Sir John told the Herald:
“The story of Scotland’s recent success in growing our share of international air travel is one of stepping out of an ownership structure for airports in which everything was overshadowed by a focus on Heathrow.
“We now have to be aware of the risks that building a new runway at Heathrow would bring. The view of the Airports Commission that Heathrow is the answer to the UK’s long-running capacity question threatens to stifle competition by creating a new and expensive monopoly.
“Heathrow’s case for the nations and regions of the UK is built on an old-fashioned assumption that we in Scotland are to be forever dependent on a giant monopoly airport in the South East for our long-term economic success and prosperity.”
Scottish connections at Heathrow
The Airports Commission has revealed that Scotland would end up with even fewer connections to an expanded Heathrow than it has now.
Inverness has had no daily connections with the hub since 1997 while flights to Heathrow from Glasgow and Edinburgh have been cut by a third in the last 20 years.
New Heathrow routes from British Airways
It was revealed recently that Heathrow slots that should be ‘ring fenced’ for Scottish flights are to be use by British Airways routes to Spain, Italy & France.
The dominant airline at Heathrow is going to use the slots for flights to Menorca, Biarritz and Palermo.
Heathrow bosses have promised their plans will deliver lower fares, better timed and more frequent flights between Scotland and Heathrow, and the return of direct flights with Inverness.
They also say it would make it cheaper for Scottish manufacturers to export their goods across the globe as a third runway would double freight capacity at Heathrow.
Edinburgh Airport is owned by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the same investment fund which owns Gatwick Airport and London City.
N.B. Image credit: youtube.com