Gatwick Airport: More reaction to Airports Commission report

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The Board of Airline Representatives say the commission’s report has been widely supported by international airlines.

A statement from the group said: “Today’s long awaited final report from Sir Howard Davies and his Airports Commission team, recommending expansion at London Heathrow, has received widespread support from international airlines serving the UK.

“BAR UK airlines will work closely with Government to achieve the best possible solution for the UK’s future air passenger and cargo needs.”

Dale Keller, chief executive of BAR UK said: “The Government now needs to evaluate the independent findings of the Airports Commission and to expediently act upon their recommendations.

“Now is the time for everyone, including politicians of all parties, to pull together in the national interest and support the bold plans to expand and improve airport infrastructure at Heathrow in order to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub

“Since the major cost of funding the expansion will ultimately be borne by passengers, it is essential that the final scheme is viable and cost-effective for future generations and does not burden today’s passengers with excessive airport charges.”

Horsham District Council (HDC) has also backed the report’s conclusions.

A statement from the council said: “Horsham District Council welcomes the Airports Commission’s recommendation proposing Heathrow Airport for additional runway capacity in the south east.

“The Council has always been opposed to a second runway at Gatwick because of the very considerable detrimental effect it would have on the physical, social and economic environment.”

HDC leader Ray Dawe said: “We have constantly made it clear that a second runway at Gatwick would have a fundamental impact on the general character of the district and on the lives of everyone who works and lives here. We are therefore extremely relieved that Sir Howard has listened to, and understood, our concerns.”

The Institute of Mechanical Engineers had another take on the issue.

Philippa Oldham, head of transport and manufacturing, said: “This report offers welcome guidance for Government on how to deal with the airport capacity crunch in South East England.

“However expanding Heathrow will only meet airport capacity demand in the short to medium-term. In order to future-proof the country’s transport infrastructure and further boost the economy Government should consider the possibility of adding an extra runway at Gatwick in addition to the expansion of Heathrow.

“The report does not offer a rounded view of what the Heathrow expansion will do to the transport network. In order to reap the full benefits we need to significantly boost rail access to help meet the demands of greater passenger numbers and to accommodate an increase need for freight distribution access via the airport.

“The report looks at the impact of air quality and highlights the risks to the surrounding environment. Overcrowding and congestion will be unbearable during peak hours. Now is the time for Government to act. We need a holistic approach to the management of our transport infrastructure.

“Never before has there been such a need to make sure that we develop an integrated transport strategy. Plans on how the expansion could benefit the everyday running of the airport need to be clarified, for example by adopting the use of new technologies such as electric or autonomous vehicles on-site.”

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