Gatwick and Heathrow have given responses to the scathing attack on a possible 3rd third runway at Heathrow by IAG boss, Willie Walsh.
Mr Walsh said the third runway at Heathrow is “a vanity project by the management of Heathrow who are driven to build a monument to themselves.” He also said “The infrastructure is not fit for purpose. The price tag is excessive and cannot be justified on any basis. We didn’t ask for it and we’re not paying for it.”
This is a devastating series of comments from the boss of Heathrow’s biggest customer.
The Gatwick CEO, Stewart Wingate, issued a statement promoting the Gatwick case but Mr Walsh has also consistently said he does not support a new runway at Gatwick as he does not see any business case for it.
Gatwick’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said:
‘One month on and the Davies Report is unravelling fast.
‘It is no surprise British Airways have come out today against expansion. For the huge costs of a third runway at Heathrow you could build Gatwick, have all the benefits and billions left to invest around the country.
‘We also learnt today that – buried deep in the report – is the revelation that a third runway would reduce rather than increase domestic connections to the UK. This blows a hole straight through the heart of Heathrow’s central claim to be the airport for the whole of the UK.
‘Taken together with Heathrow’s own rejection of the environmental conditions and the expert view that the Davies air quality consultation is fundamentally flawed it is clear that that the Heathrow hurdles are higher than ever. Choose Heathrow and it will be Groundhog Day – nothing will happen. Choose Gatwick and Britain can finally get on with it.’
Heathrow rejected Mr Walsh’s comments, telling the Guardian:
“The Airports Commission has confirmed that expansion can be financed and with low-cost airlines such as easyJet already committing to provide routes from Heathrow, it is clear that operating costs from the airport will be competitive.”
The emphasis on easyJet moving into an expanded Heathrow goes against one of the main arguements in that Heathrow wants more long haul flights to destinations like China.
N.B. Image credit: gatwickairport.com