Leading figures from Gatwick and Heathrow airports continued to dispute which airport should expand, during a transport forum held yesterday (September 5)
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive officer at Heathrow Airport, said that the Howard Davies’ Airports Commission ‘couldn’t have been clearer’ in its recommendation of a third runway at Heathrow, and that the expansion was an ‘urgent’ matter following the EU referendum.
Speaking at the Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum, he said: ‘Leaving the EU means that it’s more essential than ever that we create trading links to the growing markets of the world – and that we control our own trade routes.
‘Only Heathrow expansion can do this. And it’s an urgent task, if we are to have a strong and fair post-Brexit economy.’
Holland-Kaye, who the Guardian revealed earlier this year will receive bonus payouts if Heathrow’s third runway is built, urged the government to ‘take back control of the UK’s supply routes’.
But Gatwick Airport’s chief financial officer, Nick Dunn, claimed the Airports Commission’s conclusions were misleading.
While agreeing that there was a ‘pressing need’ for airport expansion in the UK, Dunn said that Freedom of Information evidence requested by Gatwick showed that a second runway at Gatwick would achieve the ‘same economic outcome’ as a third Heathrow runway, and could be built at a lower cost through longer phased expansion – as well as being better for the environment.
He also argued that the commission had distorted the figures – by including stop-off international flights in its calculations – resulting in the conclusion that that there were greater economic benefits at Heathrow.
In July, Grimshaw won a contest to design a ‘hub airport of the future’ as part of Heathrow’s £16 billion growth plans.
Meanwhile, Graham Bolton, global aviation development director at Atkins, urged the government to make a judgement quickly.
He said: ‘Let’s have a decision, let’s have it soon and let’s have a commitment to being able to carry it through,’ he said.
Architects were well represented in the audience, which included representatives from Hassell, Weston Williamson, Zaha Hadid Architects and Pascal + Watson.