Scotland business

Call for Scotland to 'rethink' relationship with London airports

Plane landing at Heathrow Image copyright Getty Images

Edinburgh Airport's boss has called for Scotland to "rethink" its relationship with London's airports.

The call came after the UK government delayed a final decision on whether to build a third runway at Heathrow.

Edinburgh's chief executive Gordon Dewar said Scottish airports no longer needed to think of themselves as feeder airports for Heathrow or Gatwick.

Mr Dewar argued that airports north of the border were "better connected than they have ever been".

The UK government move to postpone a decision on airport expansion until at least next summer followed an independent report by Sir Howard Davies, which backed a plan to build a third runway at Heathrow.

But he said that the new runway should come with severe restrictions to reduce the environmental and noise effects, and did not completely rule out another runway at Gatwick or doubling an existing runway at Heathrow.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Dewar's comments came after the UK government delayed a decision on whether to build a third runway at Heathrow

Reacting to the delay, Mr Dewar said it must be seen as an opportunity to "rethink our relationship with those airports in the south".

He said: "Regardless of the merits of its case, we have long believed that a new runway at Heathrow is undeliverable and would in any case be a poor choice for Scotland.

"We are where we have been many times before and it is time for new thinking.

"We now have some of the world's largest airlines serving Europe, the Middle East and North America from Edinburgh."

'Age-old obsession'

He added: "We might be owned by the same company that owns Gatwick, but we are run independently and I am happy to compete aggressively with Gatwick and other airports for Scotland's share of air traffic to and from this country."

"That competition can only exist if we move on from the age-old obsession with Heathrow, which has been supported many times in the past and which has been grounded every time.

"Scotland is punching above its weight in the world aviation industry. All of our airports - supported by the Scottish government and others - are better connected than they have ever been.

"We should be confidently standing on our two feet and completely redefining our relationship with Gatwick and Heathrow, and I look forward to building support for that case over the next few months."

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