Airports Commission consultants have said Heathrow Airport would be an appropriate location for a new runway in the South East of England for air freight growth. The UK government’s Airports Commission released a public announcement consisting of three new proposals, with two being directed at Heathrow Airport, and the third for Gatwick Airport. All proposals suggest additional runways for both airports.
The proposals explains how Heathrow is a well-established airport and “the industry would be well placed to respond quickly to a growth in capacity.” 2013 saw Heathrow handle 1.4 million tonnes of air freight in comparison to the 98,000 that Gatwick handled the same year.
The proposal also advises that significant growth would require investment from third parties around the airport itself. Alastair McDermid, Gatwick’s Director of Airports Commission, has said: “We acknowledge there is a well-established airfreight industry in and around Heathrow. Accepting Heathrow have got a head start, we still have a lot to offer.”
McDermid also spoke of Gatwick’s ability to offer custom built facilities, reduced charges for carriers and additional benefits including reduced congestion in and around the airport. The Director of Airports Commission also said: “The forecast is to grow airfreight to 1.1 million tonnes and we have allocated enough land for that to happen.”
Speaking on behalf of Heathrow Airport, Airports Commission Chairman, Sir Howard Davies, has said: “We have not yet take a view on which proposal strikes the most effective balance between the assessment criteria.”
Heathrow also commented: “We welcome the Airports Commission’s agreement that Heathrow is well placed to enhance the UK’s freight operations. Expansion at Heathrow would enable us to develop our cargo facilities to double the throughput we have today.”