Stewart Wingate has rejected a high-speed rail link between Heathrow and Gatwick to create a mega hub as a possible solution to lack of airport capacity in the South-East.
Speaking to ABTN, he said “any discussion on capacity is a good discussion”, but the idea of a Heathwick hub is too expensive.
“The estimated cost of linking Gatwick to Heathrow via a high speed dedicated rail service is about £5 billion,” he said.
“Surely you would invest that £5 billion into transport infratructure to get greater benefits elsewhere.”
Wingate also said it would be impractical in operational terms.
“From a convenience perspective as a passenger, to have this virtual hub separated by notionally a 15-minute journey, seems extraordinary and not competitive versus other hubs around the world,” he said.
“That’s before you even think about the logistics of how on earth would you transfer luggage from one airport to another within such a short connecting time.”
Wingate added that he thought Heathwick was a "concept that was floated", but "we don’t expect to see it go much further".
The idea of a joined-up mega hub, which has emerged as part of the DfT’s consultation on the future of aviation policy in the UK, has also been rejected by airlines.
However, some in the business travel industry see it as a possible solution to long-term capacity constraints in the South-East – to find out why read Mike Platt's latest column.