Small business leaders choose Gatwick for expansion

Given a choice between expansion at Gatwick or Heathrow, small business leaders expressed a clear preference for Gatwick

A YouGov poll shows that expansion at London Gatwick is the favoured option for small business leaders in the UK.

LGW-AThe results are published in the week that Enterprise Nation’s Go Global mission to the North Atlantic takes off. Sixty five small British businesses – the biggest trade mission of its kind to New York – will fly out on Norwegian Air’s hub-busting 787 Dreamliner from Gatwick Airport for a two-day curated visit aimed at driving export growth.

Norwegian – the only low-cost airline to offer long haul flights to the states – launched flights direct to New York, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale in July 2014.

Norwegian has since announced that they are doubling their frequency from Gatwick to New York and LA in the summer of 2015 due to popular demand.

Norwegian’s one-way flights to New York start from as little as £149 allowing business passengers to take advantage of the affordable fares on offer.

But mainline carriers like BA and Virgin still offer an overall better deal when you include baggage, meals, drinks etc. And on a flight lasting between 7 and 12 hours that can make a huge difference.

At the time of writing, 25 September 2014, fares for a typical one week trip from London to New York, leaving in a few days were as follows:

27 September BA LHR/JFK UK 392
Norwegian LGW/JFK UK 329
04 October BA JFK/LHR UK 392
Norwegian JFK/LGW UK 181

Add in baggage, meals, drinks and overall service and BA are still way ahead, which highlights the challenge for Norwegian.

Gatwick’s poll shows the importance placed on the cost of travel with more than half of small business leaders (53%) citing it as the most important consideration when booking a flight, after destination. This jumps to 63% when younger business leaders (25 to 34) were asked.

Research from TripAdvisor also shows that between April 2014-15 72% of business passengers surveyed said they had chosen to fly on a low-cost airline.

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive of London Gatwick Airport, said:

“Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy and they depend on affordable travel to grow their businesses. Building a second runway at Gatwick will promote greater competition among airports and airlines, delivering reduced fares, better services and more choice for passengers.

“The US is a major trading partner to the UK so I am very pleased that Gatwick is able to act as the gateway to New York for 65 small businesses looking to develop their networks out there”.

Emma Jones, Founder of Enterprise Nation, said:

“It’s clear exporting is an important route to Growth, and yet trade missions often focus on large and medium sized firms – partly because costs and time commitments often make them inaccessible to the smallest firms and start-ups. The trip will herald a 12-month national campaign which will include workshops, online webinars and access to advice from experts in global trade.

Adrian Munn, Director for Leatherhead-based business Monochrome, said:

“We are really looking forward to travelling out to New York to bang the drum for Gatwick and showcase what the region has to offer to leading American businessmen and women. We want to make sure that everyone hears how many vibrant, innovative and creative companies there are in the region.

“It is very important to us that these brands, start-ups and entrepreneurs don’t just see Gatwick as a world class transport hub – we want them to see that when they land in Gatwick, they don’t need to get a train into London because there are a wealth of businesses offering just as much, if not more, than London does.”