Interview by Ian Trevett and Maarten Hoffmann
Fed up with the election? Then spare a thought for the Chief Executive of Gatwick Airport, Stewart Wingate, who probably cares little about who wins, but just wants the whole thing to be over. For he is waiting for a bigger decision: whether or not his campaign for a second runway at Gatwick Airport has been successful, and there will be no verdict until the election votes have been cast.
The stakes are high. If Sir Howard Davies and the Airport Commission recommend the plans submitted by Gatwick, the region will see an enormous boost in economic activity and become of far greater strategic importance.
Since we launched Platinum Business Magazine, we have supported the Gatwick expansion plans, as we believe it will be fantastic news for business in the area, but there are questions that need to be answered regarding the impact on local transport and displaced businesses. So we are very pleased to bring you an in-depth interview with Stewart Wingate. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of business in the South East.
To start, a simple question: Why is there such a lot of fuss over a strip of tarmac? “It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the UK to get a new runway for London and the South East. The last time one was opened was back in the 1950s, built in the 1940s, so we’ve had 70 years of inactivity. In that time we’ve been very well served by the runways that we inherited, and you’ve seen this network of airports with not only Heathrow but also Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, London City, and recently Southend, serve us very well.