As the government gives the go-ahead to expand Heathrow, should it have approved Gatwick too?

Heathrow airport planes
Congested Heathrow can finally expand (Source: Getty)

Paul Wait, chief executive of the Guild of Travel Management Companies, says Yes.

There is a simple but solid economic argument that a runway at Gatwick should be approved alongside one at Heathrow. Increased capacity at both airports would offer greater connectivity for passengers travelling to both short haul and long haul destinations, and offer businesses across the UK the opportunity to travel more efficiently and therefore grow.


While we welcome the decision to approve expansion at Heathrow, we cannot ignore the potential for growth that further expansion at Gatwick would also deliver. Gatwick Airport has invested in meeting the needs of the business traveller and carries significant potential if given the go-ahead to also expand. We believe that there is room in the UK’s infrastructure needs for growth at each airport.

Granting approval for another runway at Gatwick would send a clear message to the rest of the world that the UK takes international business seriously and is taking the steps necessary to enable businesses and the economy to grow.

Jonathan Stephens, managing director at Surrenden Invest, says No.

The current focus is very much on Heathrow versus Gatwick, but the government would be wise to invest in the infrastructure of other UK cities in a post-Brexit era, especially within the Northern Powerhouse, to maximise the possibilities of future global relationships.

Manchester’s regional airport is now welcoming regular direct flights from China and Dubai, resulting in increasing investment to the city. We have already witnessed the impact of this improved connectivity on Manchester’s housing market, with foreign buyers able to fly in regularly to inspect and purchase property in the city centre.


A similar case could be made for Birmingham, with Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, Marketing Birmingham, Birmingham Airport, MPs and educational leaders combining forces last month to petition the Prime Minister to focus on the expansion of Birmingham Airport rather than simply choosing between a new runway at Gatwick or one at Heathrow.

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