Gatwick rejects National Connectivity Task Force report

16 March 2015 (Last Updated March 16th, 2015 18:30)

London’s Gatwick Airport has rejected the findings of the National Connectivity Taskforce (NCT) alleging that the taskforce had been created by and for the Heathrow airport.

heathrow

London's Gatwick Airport has rejected the findings of the National Connectivity Taskforce (NCT) alleging that the taskforce had been created by and for the Heathrow airport.

The report had stated that a new runway at Heathrow which would provide services to and from regional airports would be the best option for the UK's regions and nations.

The taskforce's report has come ahead of the Airports Commission recommendations on the expansion of the airports in the southeast after the May general election.

"Despite its claims to some objectivity, this is clearly an exercise in manufacturing an outcome that suits Heathrow's ambitions for a third runway."

Gatwick airport dismissed the findings of the NCT calling it an exercise that had been manufactured to support Heathrow's third runway suggestion.

Gatwick's Chairman Roy McNulty also wrote an open letter to Lord Shipley who heads the taskforce.

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: "This taskforce has been set up by Heathrow, for Heathrow, and solely to serve its own ends. Despite its claims to some objectivity, this is clearly an exercise in manufacturing an outcome that suits Heathrow's ambitions for a third runway.

"We know others in the industry, including other significant UK airports share this view. In fact, we estimate that passenger numbers at UK airports - other than Gatwick - that are opposed to expansion at Heathrow are more than double those at airports cited by Heathrow as in support."

Gatwick and Heathrow have been in direct competition for almost a year now to get a government approval to build a new runway in the South East.

Meanwhile, the Heathrow airport has released a statement in support of the taskforce.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: "The taskforce agrees that connectivity shouldn't just be about access from the rest of the UK to London, it should be about onward access to the rest of the world, particularly the long-haul routes only a hub can provide.

That's why 32 chambers of commerce from every region and nation in the UK and five regional airports across the country back Heathrow. We will now carefully consider the report and its recommendations and respond shortly."


Image: Gatwick airport has said that the National Connectivity Taskforce was set up by and for the Heathrow Airport. Photo: courtesy of LHR Airports Limited.