Gatwick airport is “exceptionally confident” of being on the shortlist of locations for new runways, the airport’s chief executive said on Tuesday.
Stewart Wingate said he expected the independent commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to publish an interim report next month that will propose four possible locations for new runways – Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, plus a new hub in the Thames estuary.
Mr Wingate predicted the commission would ultimately make a choice between expanding Heathrow, the UK’s only hub, or Gatwick, the country’s second-largest airport in terms of passenger numbers. “We think if we make our arguments well we will win this debate,” he added.
Gatwick, owned by a consortium led by Global Infrastructure Partners, estimates it could cost £5bn to build a second runway at the airport that could open in 2025.
That compares with Heathrow’s calculation that it could cost at least £14bn to construct a third runway, which could also open in 2025.
Expanding Gatwick in West Sussex would expose much smaller numbers of residents to aircraft noise compared with Heathrow because the hub is located on the outskirts of west London.
Gatwick reported revenue of £360.6m for the six months to September 30, up 10.7 per cent compared with the same period last year.
The increased turnover reflected a 4.4 per cent rise in the number of passengers passing through the airport to 20.8m, mainly because of growth in European flights. Gatwick’s pre-tax profit rose 18.8 per cent to £127.3m.
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