4:07pm. Friday 9 September 2011
Post by: Guy Stephenson, Commercial Director
At the end of last month, National Rail published a strategy paper recommending the government impose additional peak-time stops at Clapham Junction for the Gatwick Express.
In my view, this is not in the interests of air passengers and will undermine Gatwick’s competitive position.
The break up of BAA in December 2009 was ordered to promote competition and in the last eighteen months of new ownership, we’ve proved competition is working at Gatwick.
An extra stop at Clapham Junction, means Gatwick would no longer have a quick, direct route into central London – something that’s very important to our passengers and airlines.
Alongside the commercial terms and the significant improvements to passenger we’ve, our connectivity to central London is one of the main reasons new airlines like Air Asia X and Vietnam Airlines have chosen Gatwick over other London airports.
We know our business passengers value the direct 30-minute journey into Victoria – the heart of London. Losing this direct link into the heart of our capital would severely damage our – and London’s – ability to attract oversees airlines bring new routes to Gatwick.
There are, and will remain, plenty of trains that stop at Clapham Junction, East Croydon and other major south London interchanges. But I realise capacity is an issue on the Brighton main line.
That’s why Gatwick is working alongside Network Rail to invest £53m upgrading the airport rail station and creating a seventh platform. This will create additional capacity on the line and the opportunity for additional commuter services.
The government has made it clear that the focus for the aviation industry should be ‘better not bigger’ with improved passenger experience at airports. We fully support this and believe that travel options to and from airports are essential to achieving this goal.
The Government can’t take one-dimensional approach to rail strategy. At the UK’s second largest airport, it needs to balance the needs of commuters with those of air passengers, who love the Gatwick Express.
Let’s not scrap the one and only direct airport rail service on a whim, without fully understanding the knock-on effects.
Hear from Stewart and the team
Join in our converstion on what matters to Stewart Wingate and his team.