The Anonymous Widower

Changing Sides

There is an interesting article in The Sunday Times today, entitled Boris Retreats In Fight Against Third Runway.

Boris is apparently saying he won’t oppose a third runway at Heathrow, so if anything he’s being consistent in changing horses, just as he did with Michael Gove.

But perhaps more surprisingly, Willie Walsh, the Chief Executive of IAG, who own BA, is quoted as calling Heathrow a fantasy project, which has been gold-plated and inflated by the owners to maximise their returns, at the expense of the airlines.

The paper also says that Gatwick will build a new runway anyway.

The latter is confirmed in this article on the Sky News web site, which is entitled Gatwick Airport to plan new runway even if Heathrow wins.

Elsewhere in The Sunday Times, there is a story about lawyers preparing their knives and forks for an expensaive dinner on all the arguments.

On top of all this of course, Londoners generally avoid Heathrow, as they prefer to do business with any Airport that treats passengers how they prefer to be treated.

This article on Get West London is entitled Bookmaker installs Gatwick as clear favourite over Heathrow in battle for new runway.

Could we be seeing something unique in the world of airports? A city with two major two-runway airports!

It will be interesting to see if the smart money is being put into commercial property like hotels and offices at Farringdon, where Crossrail and Thameslink cross.

I think that as passengers are much more flexible these days and even eighty-year-olds know how to work the Internet to their advantage, I think that if the Government makes the sensible choice and chooses Gatwick, we’ll see a marketing war, between the two airports, led by innovative airlines.

The major winners could be the passengers.


October 9, 2016 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , ,


  1. Unique like say Paris with Charles de Gaulle and Orly?

    OTOH Gatwick is a bit of a no brainer – good rail and road connections plus not much to displace to slot in a full second runway. LHR OTOH requires major disruption just to shoe horn in a short third runway on the wrong side of the M4 and currently connected to nothing.

    Of course we already have an international airport with two runways up here in Manchester – works really well!

    LHR is so bad and customs, immigration and *re-check in* such a hassle that when I was flying a lot I would transfer anywhere but the UK and especially LHR if I could not fly direct from MAN, because the return inbound transfer would be all airside, with bags checked through.

    Comment by Mark Clayton | October 9, 2016 | Reply

    • Orly is these days very much a smaller airport.

      The biggest problem with Heathrow, is that there will be massive infrastructure changes to the M25 and the railways, to build the runway. Gatwick has the space and have even mocked up terminal designs.

      I also think the lawyers could delay Heathrow for ever or at least until after the next General Election.

      Gatwick could get started on the planning tomorrow.

      Comment by AnonW | October 9, 2016 | Reply

  2. […] ask this question, as after I wrote Changing Sides, I’ve had some thoughtful […]

    Pingback by Does Brexit Mean We Need More Runways? « The Anonymous Widower | October 9, 2016 | Reply

  3. […] I have tackled this before in October 2016 in a post called Changing Sides. […]

    Pingback by What Will Boris Do About The Proposed Third Runway At Heathrow? « The Anonymous Widower | September 1, 2019 | Reply

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