Barely a few weeks after Heathrow promised to invest £10m on starting new domestic routes, London’s Gatwick airport announced the establishment of a £20m fund to support new air services from around the UK in the ten years that will follow the opening of a second runway.

The announcement comes in the midst of the war between Heathrow and Gatwick, both of whom are battling for a government grant for expansion.

The airport said the aim is to bolster the network of airports across the UK instead of concentrating on international traffic through few, like Heathrow.

"Gatwick has always been serious about encouraging the growth and development of a strong network of competing airports around the UK."

Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: "Gatwick has always been serious about encouraging the growth and development of a strong network of competing airports around the UK. This fund – and the measures we propose to support it – will improve connectivity to London for those that need it.

"Gatwick expansion is best for the UK and regions because it supports not only the growth of connectivity to London, but also more connectivity between all UK airports and international short and long haul destinations. Expanding Gatwick will provide more competition and choice for passengers all around the UK."

Gatwick said in a statement that if it is selected, it will ensure that benefits of the new landing strip trickles to the entire UK rather than being concentrated solely on London.

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The airport further said that it was cheaper in comparison to Heathrow apart from being better connected.

It pointed that Heathrow charged £29.59 per domestic departing passenger compared to Gatwick’s charge of £10.52 per domestic departing passenger.

Apart from the fund, Gatwick also plans to propose and consult about possible changes to charges to support the growth of national and regional air services and encourage easier connection between airlines.

It also plans to support funding applications for new Public Sector Obligation services and work with the government to study how to safeguard slots for new national and regional services.