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£20m support package unveiled

Gatwick to back regional airports if runway approved

RyanairGatwick says it will set up a £20 million fund to support Britain’s network of airports if it secures a second runway.

The fund would incentivise airlines and will be seen as a key message to politicians considering runway options that the Sussex base plans to spread the benefits of expansion around the UK.

Gatwick says the fund will support new air services from around the UK in the ten years following the opening of a second runway.

It already serves 11 destinations in UK compared with seven at Heathrow and says its plans for a second runway will encourage the growth of regional airports and the development of international services outside London and the South East.

“Gatwick’s plans aims to strengthen the whole of the UK’s network of airports whereas Heathrow’s plans aim to concentrate international traffic through Heathrow itself, restricting the growth of airports outside the capital,” it said in a statement today.

The fund will be used to incentivise airlines to introduce new services and provide jointly-agreed marketing support to regional development or other tourism bodies in regional England or Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for new services.

Launching the fund, Stewart Wingate, Gatwick chief executive, said: “Gatwick has always been serious about encouraging the growth and development of a strong network of competing airports around the UK. This fund – and the measures we propose to support it – will improve connectivity to London for those that need it.

“Gatwick expansion is best for the UK and regions because it supports not only the growth of connectivity to London, but also more connectivity between all UK airports and international short and long haul destinations.

“Expanding Gatwick will provide more competition and choice for passengers all around the UK.”

The move follows Heathrow’s decision to launch a tourism campaign promoting British cities.

Business leaders in Edinburgh have reacted angrily to be excluded from the £3 million promotion, claiming that it is a result of the city airport now being in the ownership of a rival company.

Poster sites and exhibition space in Heathrow’s five terminals will instead promote north-east England, Northern Ireland, Leeds, Glasgow, Cardiff and Bristol from next month.

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