Senior managers at Gatwick Airport have a fresh spring in their step.
The UK airport is back in the game, after prime minister David Cameron last week postponed a decision on where to build a new runway in the London area until at least next summer. The decision by the government comes despite an independent commission earlier this year backing expansion at Gatwick’s chief rival Heathrow.
The renewed hope means Gatwick’s PR machine has cranked up a gear and it is today trumpeting its busiest ever November, as 2.6m passengers passed through its doors, a 7.3 per cent increase on the same month last year.
Gatwick has also persuaded another long-haul airline to fly from its terminals. Cathay Pacific will introduce a route from Gatwick to Hong Kong next year. Attracting more long-haul carriers to connect the UK with far flung emerging markets will help strengthen the airport’s case for expansion.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s chief executive, said:
This decision has always been about balancing the economic benefits of expansion with the impact on the environment. The simple facts show that Gatwick expansion would give the country the economic benefit it needs at a dramatically lower environmental cost.
The decision to further delay any decision on airport expansion in the London area sparked a fierce backlash from businesses last week, with John Longworth, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, calling the move “gutless”.
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