Airports set new passenger records
16 June 2015 09:35
Heathrow is battling Gatwick to get a new runway
Which airport will win the race to build Britain's newest runway?
With the announcement of the preferred option expected to be only days away, Gatwick and Heathrow go into the battle boasting impeccable current form.
Both have just announced unprecedented May passenger numbers.
Gatwick enjoyed an all-time May high of 3.6 million customers - a rise of 5.8% on the same month last year.
This helped swell the total number of passengers from May 2014 to May 2015 to 38.87 million customers.
This represented a leap of 6.5% on the May 2013 to May 2014 figure.
Heathrow also published record figures, with its 6.34 million travellers beating by 1.7% the amount using the facility in May 2014.
Heathrow's May 2014 to May 2015 passenger tally of 73.75 million was a 1.1% rise on the amount it handled from May 2013 to May 2014.
What the chief executives say
Stewart Wingate (Gatwick) said its record rise in numbers showed that more competition works for both companies and passengers.
He said that Gatwick's expansion would further bolster this competition, creating an even more robust network of rival airports which would offer travellers reduced fares, higher standards and greater choice.
John Holland-Kaye (Heathrow) said ministers' greatest value-for-money investment to get Britain's economy moving is to give the new runway to Heathrow.
He said its growth plans are nearly totally financed by private means. Such proposals could be "responsibly" delivered without exceeding air quality and carbon limits, he added.
Timetable for the new runway
Very soon Gatwick and Heathrow should learn from the Government-sanctioned Airports Commission which one of them will be recommended to host the new runway.
But some people fear that ministers will not fully reply to the commission's recommendations before Christmas.
Whichever airport runway travellers fly out from, one thing they should not be without is their travel insurance documents.
Such cover can bring tourists peace of mind in the knowledge that should nasty surprises occur along the way, it need not ruin their holiday.
Not to be outdone, although it is not in the running for a new runway, Stansted was another leading London airport announcing that passenger volumes had risen in May.
Numbers jumped by 12.6% on the same month last year, to almost 2.05 million travellers this time round.