City airport chief attacks Heathrow runway decision

Gordon Dewar wants the Scottish Government to cut Air Passenger Duty by 50% following the decision. Picture; contributed
Gordon Dewar wants the Scottish Government to cut Air Passenger Duty by 50% following the decision. Picture; contributed
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THE boss of Edinburgh Airport has slammed the decision to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport saying it creates “a powerful monopoly” that undermines long haul flights from other UK airports.

Gordon Dewar had argued Gatwick airport “offered the better deal for Scotland” and described the Heathrow plan as “undeliverable” and potentially “bad for passengers”.

The chief executive said: “Heathrow’s expansion risks a monopolised market which is bad for passengers.

“Scotland’s airports are less dependent on London than they have ever been, our passengers tell us that they want to fly directly, and we believe a larger Heathrow will in effect be a powerful monopoly that could undermine long haul direct international services from every part of the UK.”

He said Edinburgh Airport currently serves over 130 destinations including the Middle East, North America and Europe and these services were “being undermined” by a monopoly in the South East of England.

Mr Dewar said the Edinburgh Airport – owned by Global Infrastructure Partners which also owns Gatwick and London City – now called on the Scottish Government to give greater clarity on its long promised cut to Air Passenger Duty.

He said: “We are calling on them to confirm proposals will deliver a 50 per cent cut in one move to generate growth, create new jobs and support the country’s economy.”

The Scottish Government had backed Heathrow over the rival bid from Gatwick saying the expansion would benefit the whole of Scotland.

Heathrow had already made a list of commitments to Scotland, including creating 16,000 jobs and investing £200m in the country. It also vowed to develop new domestic routes to Scottish airports and consider Prestwick Airport as a “logistics hub” for the new runway.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said he looked forward to the UK Government “cracking on with this as soon as possible”

Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell insisted a new Heathrow runway would provide a “major boost for the Scottish economy for decades to come” by providing better air links for business, with the promise of greater competition “pushing down on fares for everyone”.

AGS Airports, which owns Glasgow and Aberdeen airports, also welcomed the announcement, which it said would play an important role in supporting the Scottish economy.

But both the Scottish Greens and Scottish Liberal Democrats criticised the decision as did several Tory MPs, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith, who resigned as an MP in protest.

The plan to build the new £17 billion runway at Heathrow now faces a long consultation with MPs not voting on the proposals until next year at the earliest and the new runway not being opened until at least 2025.