A third runway at Heathrow (above) will mean another 16 long-haul destinations served each day, a government expert has predicted.
Dennis Morgan, head of aviation capacity in the Department for Transport’s economics team, told a Transport Committee hearing that Heathrow had significant advantages over Gatwick: “We see a very clear difference in the international connectivity earlier on.”
He added: “To give two examples, in 2030, expansion at Heathrow with the third runway would deliver 35,000 additional long-haul flights, versus only 1,000 at Gatwick. The Heathrow third runway would deliver 16 additional long-haul destinations served daily, versus only 2 at Gatwick.”
Nick Dunn, Gatwick’s chief financial officer, claimed benefits would be spread more evenly across the UK with Gatwick’s expansion and argued that Heathrow would not attract enough extra flights to justify construction costs.
“When Gatwick expands and opens, the model suggests there will be around five million extra passengers within two years; but at Heathrow it will be 38 million,” he said. “Thirty-eight million is the size of British Airways, so overnight BA needs to arrive with a fleet to take up all the capacity that is being delivered. I question whether that is a plausible outcome.”
Dunn added that the recent auction of Monarch’s Gatwick slots was six times over-subscribed. “That was worth around two million passengers per year. That means that, if we delivered it today, we could probably find around 10 million passengers.”