Heathrow and Gatwick could get new runwaysCommission announces best airports for expansion

17 December 2013


The Airports Commission has announced that new runways at Heathrow and Gatwick are among short-listed options for expanding airport capacity in the UK.

The independent review has concluded that there is a need for one additional runway in the south east by 2030 and selected three possible options to take forward for detailed study.

Heathrow and Gatwick may be among the most used airports in the UK, but they are not necessarily the most loved. You can see how Heathrow and Gatwick compare to other airports in the UK in the Which? guide to the best and worst UK airports.

UK airports compared

When Which? Travel conducted a survey of more than 11,500 passenger experiences, Gatwick Airport did not fare too well, with the North Terminal receiving a customer score of 54% and the South Terminal scoring 52%.

And Heathrow’s Terminals 1, 3 and 4 were all towards the bottom of the table, scoring less than 50%. However, Terminal 5 fared far better in the survey with a customer score of 66%.

In fact, Which? members' top-rated UK airport was Southend, which opened in March 2012. With a customer score of 84% it was especially commended for its speedy check-in and arrivals.

Options for airport expansion

The three short-listed options for UK airport expansion are:

  • A new runway at Gatwick Airport to the south of the existing runway
  • A third runway at Heathrow Airport to the northwest
  • Lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow Airport to operate as two independent runways

The Commission has not short-listed proposals for expansion at Stansted or Birmingham. However, it has not completely ruled out a new airport in the Thames Estuary and will undertake further study of a site at the Isle of Grain Airport in north Kent in early 2014.

The Airport Commission’s final report is due to be published by summer 2015.

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