Major airlines want Heathrow to expand


If major airlines operating in the UK do not use an expanded Gatwick then it could become an expensive white elephant. 

MPs, airlines and major UK business groups prefer Heathrow expansion over Gatwick. Heathrow is the clear and unanimous choice of the independent Airports Commission asked by the Prime Minister to decide where to build new airport capacity.

  • Heathrow is operating at near full capacity with nearly 30 airlines wanting to access the new airport (read more here). 
  • BAR UK, a trade organisation representing over 70 scheduled airlines operating in the UK, stated that: "The majority of BAR UK airlines have maintained their view that expansion at the UK’s existing hub airport, Heathrow, provides the most compelling solution."
  • BAR UK added: "The majority of BAR UK airlines believe that an expanded Gatwick provides a capacity solution that does not effectively address the terms of reference set by the UK Government. Maintaining the UK’s status as the most important hub in Europe can only be optimised through the provision of a hub airport with at least three runways - currently deliverable only through expansion at Heathrow."
  • Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of IAG, owner of British Airways, has stated that there is "no business case" for Gatwick expansion.
  • Airlines often move from Gatwick as soon as slots at Heathrow become available. Between 2008 and 2013, 15 airlines left Gatwick for Heathrow. More recently Garuda, Air China and Vietnam Airlines have done exactly the same. 
  • Dame Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive, easyJet, said: “No one is screaming for capacity at Gatwick. There is no demand. Everyone is screaming for capacity at Heathrow.” 

So why build the UK's new runway anywhere except at Heathrow?