Gatwick may get new owner and second runway

Hotel News - 01/05/2008

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According to reports in the Times, Gatwick may be up for sale and the new owner is likely to rejuvenate old plans for a second runway.

Britian’s Competition Commission has been reviewing the operations of the British Airports Authority (BAA), the owner of Gatwick and many other airports in the UK, to determine if the group holds an unfair monopoly in the industry. It seems increasingly likely that the commission will require BAA to sell off at least three of its airports, and Gatwick may be among them.

The commission recently announced that BAA was unable to provide London passengers with good service as the operator of Gatwick, Stansted and Heathrow Airports. The commission believes BAA’s holdings in Scotland have a similar effect on passengers there. It seems likely, therefore, that BAA will sell either Gatwick or Stansted, as well as either Glasgow or Edinburgh and Southampton Airport.

The Times quoted a source from the commission as saying: “It is very odd that BAA has belatedly supported expansion of Heathrow and Stansted but not Gatwick. The first thing a new owner of Gatwick would do is look at options for expansion, including a new runway.”

A new runway could double the number of flights at Gatwick to higher levels than currently landing at Heathrow Airport, a prospect which is alarming to some. Brendon Sewill, chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, told the Times: “It is alarming to find the prospect of a second runway being revived.”

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