September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
Now in its 27th year, the Business Travel Awards
Heathrow and Gatwick are both claiming that record passenger numbers in July show they should be allowed to expand at the expense of the other.
Heathrow said that 6.97 million people used the airport last month, which was a new monthly record and an increase of 0.5% on July 2013. While July 27 became Heathrow’s busiest day ever with just under 240,000 passengers using the airport.
The airport also highlighted its importance to key emerging markets such as China by drawing attention to Air China’s decision to double capacity from Heathrow to Beijing from October 2014.
Heathrow's new CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “The doubling of Air China’s routes to Beijing represents a vote of confidence for Terminal 2.
“It’s also recognition that despite other UK airports having spare capacity, only Heathrow can deliver daily, direct flights to emerging economies that will help Britain win in the global race for growth. Gatwick can’t, Heathrow can.”
Both airports have been shortlisted for potential new runways by the Airports Commission, which will be making its final recommendation for expansion in the south-east to the government in summer 2015 after the next general election.
Gatwick hit back with its own monthly passenger record in July – 4.06 million people used the airport last month, an increase of 6% year-on-year.
The airport said this was mainly due to a 10.5% rise in European scheduled traffic, particularly on business routes, and a 6.6% increase in transatlantic passengers due to Norwegian’s new routes to the US.
Nick Dunn, Gatwick’s chief financial officer, said: “The strength of Norwegian’s new low-cost long-haul flights on new-generation aircraft is really encouraging. What passengers want is the convenience of flying from their local airport to the destination of their choice with fares they can afford.
“Building a third runway at Heathrow will diminish the choice available to British passengers, making it more expensive to go on holiday, to travel for business and to export goods and services. We support competition, reduced fares and two world-class London airports serving the UK as a whole.”
Meanwhile The Sunday Times has reported that a dossier setting out Gatwick’s strategy to win the battle for expansion were found on a train.
The dossier includes proposals to “target” key politicians, civil servants, business figures and environmental campaigners who could be encouraged to “influence” the Airports Commission in favour of Gatwick’s expansion.