Lord Deighton is feeling magnanimous since Heathrow’s expansion plans have been given the go-ahead.
Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Heathrow’s chairman said airports across Britain should be allowed to grow; as long as there’s enough demand for their services.
“To the extent that those airports need an extra runway to be able to provide the slots to support economically supportable routes, absolutely,” he said. “To the extent that there is business at these places, I’m comfortable with them expanding.”
Deighton, who became chairman during the summer, pointed to Manchester and Edinburgh airports as key examples of regional airports which would also result in more flights coming to Heathrow and use it as a hub. Those airports can also offer more direct flights to the most popular destinations such as New York and Paris.
“Of course it has to be within the constraints of climate change and how much air traffic the country is prepared to support. I generally regard others airports as a supportive, rather than a competitive thing,” he said.
Manchester airport’s chief executive Ken O’Toole had said the government’s decision on airport expansion provided the opportunity to develop a new aviation policy to maximise the contribution all airports can make to improve the nation’s global connectivity.
“Airports up and down the country, including Manchester, have a critical role in the future prosperity of both the regions they serve and the country as a whole,” he added. Growing Manchester airport to 55m passengers a year, would, O’Toole said, generate £75bn worth of economic benefit to the north west.
The lead up to the highly-anticipated airport decision has been spotted with Heathrow and Gatwick trading blows on which should be first in line for expansion.
Gatwick has been adamant it is poised to continue with expansion, should Heathrow run into trouble, as it anticipates happening.
When the airport decision was announced by government, Gatwick’s chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “We are very disappointed as we do not believe this is the right answer for Britain.”
He also added that the challenges facing Heathrow “have not changed”. A Gatwick spokesperson told City A.M. at the time that the airport was going to “reflect on this decision” and now was not the time for it to launch a legal challenge, though it hadn’t ruled it out.