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Second Gatwick runway better for Scots travellers says airport chief

SCOTS travellers would be able to access more low-cost international routes if Gatwick Airport was given the go-ahead to build a second runway, its chief executive has said.

Stewart Wingate has made the case for expanding Gatwick over Heathrow to business leaders in Glasgow during a visit to the city.

Mr Wingate, previously customer services director for BAA at Glasgow Airport, said: "The debate over airport expansion in the South East is not just about what is good for London, it is about delivering economic benefits, more affordable travel and greater connectivity for passengers throughout the UK. Scotland is very important to Gatwick and our planned expansion will protect competition and deliver cheaper travel to more destinations for the people of Scotland."

Mr Wingate was invited to speak as part of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce's Glasgow Talks series, which previously hosted Heathrow Airport's chief executive, Colin Matthews. Both airports are battling to win approval for an additional runway to increase capacity in the South East. An interim report by the Airports Commission, led by businessman Sir Howard Davies, recommended that the best options were either a third runway at Heathrow or a second at Gatwick. The commission will also consider London Mayor Boris Johnson's favoured alternative of constructing an entirely new airport on the Isle of Grain in north Kent.

It would be the first time since the 1940s that a new runway would be built in London or the South East.

The Gatwick plans would cost around £5 billion and be completed by 2025.

Mr Wingate said expanding Gatwick would provide Scots with affordable travel to the capital and overseas, with direct flights from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness Airports.

Gatwick has Europe's largest concentration of low-cost airlines, including easyJet and Ryanair.

Stuart Patrick, Chief Executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: "Access to London is vital for the businesses we represent."

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