Extra runways at London airports

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This topic contains 544 replies, has 65 voices, and was last updated by  transtraxman 17 Jan 2017
at 11:11

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  • Anonymous


    Philip Hammond(former Transport Secretary) wrote in an article for his local paper “The Argus”, yesterday Friday 19th April, about the need for a second runway at Gatwick.
    “Minister backs call for extra runway at Gatwick”


    He said: “So why not reflect that reality with a multi-airport model and expand London’s existing single runway airports at Gatwick and eventually Stansted, to two runways each, providing decades worth of passenger growth capacity.”

    Others quoted are against this solution. However, it does appear that ideas are being floated, by government, about the inevitable – the expansion of runway capacity in the south-east. I would expect more in the future, including Heathrow.


    To supplement the above Gatwick airport chiefs were quoted in the “London Evening Standard”, of yesterday 19th April, as saying, in a submission to the Davies Commission, …..
    “Gatwick chiefs: Heathrow hub would raise cost of flights”

    “Holidaymakers would see the cost of flying from the South-East rise if Heathrow is allowed to become a super-hub airport, Gatwick chiefs warned today.”


    This seems like more power to the elbow about expansion at Gatwick. Wait for more in the days ahead.


    Another event is to take place concerning Heathrow expansion. According to the “Uxbridge Gazette”, of 19th April,………
    “Hillingdon’s Heathrow referendum – which way will you vote?”


    …………there are to be referenda in Hillingdon and Richmond about expansion at Heathrow.

    The way things are organised makes me think the ploiticians, and subsequently government, are trying to put to rest the idea of a third runway at LHR while opening the door to a second runway at Gatwick.

    This would be another unsatisfactory “fix”.


    I think Gatwick still has a lot to prove in terms of its attraction to businesses and business travellers as well as airlines themselves! Until more people and airlines want to fly from Gatwick, I don’t think a second runway will help in any way.

    That said, I fully support the expansion of Gatwick if this can be sustainable and not just a gimmick playing to those against expansion at Heathrow, which at the end of the day, wins hands down as the London airport that most people actually want to fly from. It is great to see new airlines operating out of Gatwick but there needs to be more staying power!


    This is a Gordian knot, I fear, due to various vested interests, lack of land space in the right areas and the length of the UK planning/appeals processes.

    Walsh probably had a point when he predicted a status quo in 2050.


    Gatwick is of very limited use to those of us who live north of Watford, Heathrow is not that easy or convenient to travel to/from, Gatwick is a complete no no.

    AMS/CDG will remain my hubs of choice for the foreseeable future, both well served from BHX


    I agree FDoS, the lack of political leadership in this country means nothing will happen for many years yet.


    More movement in promotion of Gatwick……
    “Labour warms to Gatwick expansion”


    (London Evening Standard 24th April)


    Yet, airlines continue to abandon Gatwick on certain routes even after very short stints:


    I just don’t see how an extra runway will benefit an airport that is not looking like it will reach its current capacity anytime soon!


    While others like Vietnam are adding more flights ! I suppose as the the busiest single runway airport in the world another runway would be useful , capacity is expected to be attained around 2020 and the legal agreement runs out in 2019 so planning ahead now makes good sense ,
    It serves more destinations than any other UK airport and is twice as busy in aircraft movements as the second busiest single runway airport in the world , I think a second runway is a sensible and reasonable choice to be made .
    Perhaps if it happens then airlines will be ready to commit or expand their operations , maybe an airline would want exclusive use of the third terminal ?
    I also think that the third runway at LHR is a political hot potato ( right or wrong) none of them want to make the decision , while the second runway at LGW is an easier decision and appears to be a more economical and ecological one too .



    An extra flight on an existing route (with a technical stop in FRA) is hardly a cause for celebration. Gatwick currently only works as a point to point airport. There are no opportunities for connections between carriers. Can you imagine the reaction of all the LC and charter carriers if airport fees rise to foot another runway?

    Why would you say that it is a more ecological option though? What are you basing this on (I’m not challenging, just interested to read what you think)?


    Then again a daily flight to Larnaca is hardly a disaster either , I agree its a point to point airport and it needs to grow and develop , it’s only a few years since it was owned by BAA and they very much manipulated LGW as a holiday airport and LHR as a business / hub airport , they starved the airport of investment , I don’t think that LGW can change dramatically and take business traffic from LHR if it gets a second runway , but it will give it a chance to take up the growth that is expected in the future .
    Airport fees are set by the CAA , so LGW can’t just pass on the cost of the new runway to the existing airlines , and the same would apply to LHR .
    I’m personally not against LHR getting a third runway I think it should but then again I don’t live near Heathrow !!! But I also think LGW should get a second runway , I think we should go for growth otherwise other European airports will take up on our indecision , of course there is the effect on the environment and this is the problem for the politicians and they don’t want to upset local people , and the reason on which I base my ecological option is that ( a political decision ) it is easier to upset around 3000 people near LGW as opposed to thousands and thousands near LHR , it doesn’t make it Eco friendly ! But more Eco friendly than LHR option , also there is strong opposition to LHR expansion while LGW has an agreement that ends in 2019 and that’s been known for years , so it is sort of expected if it happens .
    I just think that by 2020 LGW will be at full capacity , so build another runway , that’s just common sense , LHR is already at full capacity on the runways and they are suffering because of indecision , by the time they get a third ( if they do ) they will actually need a fourth .
    LGW is not the full answer to the capacity problems but a second runway there will help achieve part of the answer .


    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Gatwick should not get a second runway so that another airport does! Gatwick getting a second runway and another airport or two, around London and further afield, getting a second or third runway should not be mutually exclusive! I support the sustainable development of aviation across the country! I just feel that factors such as location and connectivity (on land) play a much more important role in keeping customers than how pretty they can make an airport look!

    And that’s just the trend we are still seeing at Gatwick. Entire airlines upping and going because they just cannot tempt people to fly from Gatwick, or those who can deliver a strong enough product/route look for the first opportunity to move to Heathrow.

    I remember the days when BA was flying longhaul from places like Manchester – they just could not fill the planes up a lot of the time. Same with the attempt to fly routes such as LGW-JFK. I think if an airline could get customers on their planes regardless of where they fly from and to, then it would be stupid not to fly the route, but the problem remains, they just can’t fill them. I don’t think that airlines boycott regional airports just because. If they can’t make a profit, then they won’t want to fly there.

    Regarding the ecological side of things, I wish politicians stopped pretending to make decisions based on what they class as the environmental impact! Yes, Gatwick has a lot of open space around it making it more suitable for “easy” expansion but that does not mean less impact (other than on locals). However, in my opinion, the best way for an airport to become greener, is by minimising the holding times, and improve/reduce the amount of time it takes from when the engines are turned on to when the wheels are off the runway!

    If regulated correctly, any new development can bring ecological benefits, especially where mitigation measures are clear and put in place! Terminal 5 has an entire river running under it which had to be managed appropriately, and in the process got cleaned up and tidied up! For any loss of habitat, they had to create new habitat elsewhere in the vicinity of the site, and so on and so forth!

    Another issue that rarely gets mentioned is the wide use of de icing chemicals which invariably end up in the surrounding land and waterbodies! Heathrow, for example, has its own treatment centre to ensure that any discharges meet environmental standards. The use of the toast rack design is key in reducing the amount of untreated chemicals running off the site. Where there is a will, there is a way – bit just at Heathrow!

    Yet, we never hear about the deals the government strikes with certain Gulf carriers/nations that allow them to fill up with as much fuel as they want (at little to no cost). Consequently they will take on board as much fuel as they can. An aircraft that is full of fuel, requires more de icing even when it’s not necessarily freezing. And de icing means more use of chemicals which need to be treated! But if it suits the government to make friends in this way, why would it care about either the locals orthe environment? It is very sad to repeatedly see successive governments do nothing about the future of aviation in this country!


    London already has extra runways: they are called AMS, CDG and FRA. With politicians unwilling or unable to take the necessary decisions we will indeed debate this point well into to 2050s.
    One can complain about the length of the procedures that have to be followed in the UK, including the appeals process, but without any plans and decision we will never get out of this situation.

    First question to be answered: Will we allow airline travel to grow in Britain and are we willing to accept the consequences of either a positive or negative decision?

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