Researching the U.K. airport capacity debates can be exhausting.
Getting ourselves up to speed before traveling there in April was daunting enough. Staying on top of all the proposals as they fl0oded in to meet the July 19 deadline has been even tougher.
Still, we stand by our original reason for traveling there in the first place: What happens at airport cities around the world can inform Atlanta’s aerotropolis efforts.
Between London’s big boys, the debate addresses the value of a true hub that attracts global carriers. Heathrow says it’s essential and there can only be one in a global city like London. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines agrees.
Gatwick, which has about half of Heathrow’s passenger traffic, says that its giant competitor exaggerates its reliance on transfer traffic, making the hub argument more a matter of perception than reality.
For many American travelers, this is all irrelevant. They just want to know whether to take the Gatwick Express or the Heathrow Express to get into central London.
But for those interested in how a region addresses aviation capacity constraints and overcomes the thorny local issues that accompany development plans, the U.K. situation is instructive, especially since British opposition groups tend to be vocal and well organized.
At Manchester Airport, for instance, we saw partitions set up in a field to trap endangered newts before development began. The airport has made environmental mitigation a key part of its expansions over the last 25 years, to the point where they’ve even hired a staff ecologist.
But it’s not just the big airports that have jumped into the London foray, and we though to make a guide of sorts to each proposal. Luckily, GlobalAirportCities.com beat us to it, boiling each proposal into an e”levator pitch” and asking for readers to pick their favorite.
Find the immensely helpful synopsis and participate in the poll here.