London’s Gatwick Airport has questioned the UK Airport Commission’s recommendation of the construction of a third runway at the Heathrow.
Calling the commission’s findings inconsistent and flawed, the airport noted in a 50-page report that one of the key errors is the proposed ban on night flights at Heathrow, which would lead to a decrease in the airport’s services.
The move is expected to affect the number of long haul flights to and from growing markets in the Far East.
The report claimed that the commission’s traffic projections for both the airports underplayed Gatwick’s estimates and overplayed Heathrow’s growth predictions.
Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: “We expected a well-considered examination of all options, but instead the final report contains so many omissions and basic errors that its reliability as the basis of aviation policy must be called into question. The findings of this report simply do not add up.”
“The findings of this report simply do not add up.”
The report observes that the commission has relied on an analysis by PwC on the economic values of both the expansion plans, despite a caution by its expert panel about the reliability of the results.
The airport said in a statement: ‘Heathrow’s costs are multiples of those for Gatwick and yet the Commission assumes airport charges will go up by the same amount for both – from Â£20 to Â£31 for Heathrow and Â£9 to Â£20 for Gatwick.’
The Commission also disregards Gatwick’s commitment to enter into a binding obligation to cap charges at less than Â£15.
Challenging the commission’s projections of financing, Gatwick said that Heathrow’s plan required an annual spending of around Â£6.76bn but there is no roadmap in place to meet such huge expenditure.
The report also alleged that the commission’s conclusions regarding air quality issues at Heathrow were based on incorrect interpretation of the law, and noted that Gatwick’s noise impacts lesser than Heathrow’s.
The Airports Commission had chosen the third runway over other options including the extension of an existing runway at Heathrow and a second runway at Gatwick Airport.