Easyjet has come out in support of Heathrow in the long-running battle for extra airport capacity in the southeast.
In a submission to the Airports Commission, Easyjet’s CEO Carolyn McCall said due to greater demand expanding Heathrow “is in the best interest of passengers”.
“It is clear that long-haul airlines want to expand at Heathrow and if they can’t, they will do so not at Gatwick but at other airports such as Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt,” said McCall.
In the submission, Easyjet argued expanding Gatwick would lead to a "significant increase" in airport charges and that would mean higher fares for passengers.
The low cost carrier has its largest UK base at Gatwick.
Gatwick dismissed Easyjet’s stance stating the position it has taken is “based on its own commercial interests”.
“The Government will have to make a decision for the country balancing what is best for both the economy and the environment. That can only mean Gatwick,” the airport said in a statement.
“Gatwick can deliver its second runway without the massive environmental damage which has stopped Heathrow expansion time and time again. That means Britain can finally get on with it. The economy can grow without a new population the size of Coventry severely affected by noise. And fares can stay low for everyone," it added.
Gatwick also said its confident it can deliver the capacity the UK needs without charges rising above £12-£15 from the current level of £9 per passenger.
“Heathrow is already the most expensive airport in Europe and expansion there can only drive up costs for airlines and passengers even further. This will deter low cost carriers from operating at Heathrow in the future, just as it has for the past 25 years since the low-cost revolution got underway.”
The Airports Commission’s long-awaited decision on which UK airport to increase capacity at is expected this summer. The three-short listed options include adding a third runway at Heathrow, lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow and a new runway at Gatwick.