Gatwick is trying to position itself as the people’s choice for the location of a possible new UK runway.
In the first public polls since the London Mayor’s Estuarial option was taken off the table by the Airports Commission, three separate groups – Londoners, Gatwick residents and people living near Heathrow – have all come out in favour of building a new runway at Gatwick rather than Heathrow, according to three new You Gov surveys.
All three surveys were asked people about a straight choice between Gatwick and Heathrow
- People living by Heathrow
- People living near Gatwick
The three surveys were of the same size and used the same technique.
- Over half of Heathrow residents say Gatwick should be expanded
- Majority of Gatwick’s local community supports a second runway
- Londoners prefer expansion at Gatwick over Heathrow
|Gatwick – 46%, Heathrow – 35%, Not sure – 18%
|People living by Heathrow
|Gatwick – 51%, Heathrow – 40%, Not sure – 9%
|People living near Gatwick
|Gatwick – 52%, Heathrow – 36%, Not sure – 12%
So far Gatwick has been somewhat inept in their bid for the new runway.
Earlier in 2014 I watched a superb presentation by a Gatwick board member on the issue.
One of the main issues he spoke about was that Gatwick was new to this new runway business unlike Heathrow and that they needed help to continue.
At the end of the presentation I spoke with the Gatwick board member and asked him what sort of help he was talking about.
He said he did not know!
All three groups said expanding Gatwick would be the best option in terms of delivering greater competition between airports and generating more choice for passengers. They also opted for expansion at Gatwick over Heathrow based on the speed and ease a new runway can be delivered, and because fewer additional planes would fly over and impact the people of central London.
All three groups also said the impact on the local area was the most important consideration when choosing where a new runway should be built. Nearly half of both Gatwick (46%) and Heathrow (49%) residents said expanding Gatwick would be the best choice in this respect, with 32% in both areas selecting Heathrow.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said: “These polls show that Gatwick’s campaign is gaining momentum.
“Aviation is changing fast and there is increasing recognition that expansion at Gatwick is best suited to current market trends and can help deliver the economic benefits the UK needs at an environmental cost we can afford. An expanded Gatwick will give London a system of competitive airports that will help keep fares low for all passengers at the same time as freeing up sufficient hub capacity at Heathrow.”
Gatwick pitches to London Assembly
The three polls were published on the day that Gatwick outlined to London Assembly members why the airport thinks it’s’s plans for a second runway are the best and most deliverable solution to meet London and the UK’s future aviation needs.
Heathrow expansion is politically toxic.
The airport is in the wrong place, is unacceptable on air and noise pollution, has been rejected by all three main UK political parties and by local residents by overwhelming amounts in local referendums.