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Gatwick Airport boss: We need Northern Ireland's support for second runway

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Gatwick Airport chairman Sir Roy McNulty is in Belfast today to convince businesspeople that they will reap great economic rewards if his airport is chosen to get the UK's next runway

Gatwick Airport chairman Sir Roy McNulty is in Belfast today to convince businesspeople that they will reap great economic rewards if his airport is chosen to get the UK's next runway

Gatwick Airport chairman Sir Roy McNulty is in Belfast today to convince businesspeople that they will reap great economic rewards if his airport is chosen to get the UK's next runway

Gatwick Airport chairman Sir Roy McNulty is in Belfast today to convince businesspeople that they will reap great economic rewards if his airport is chosen to get the UK's next runway.

The ex-Shorts chairman hopes to persuade business leaders that Gatwick should be allowed to expand over its rival Heathrow.

Speaking ahead of the business meeting, Sir Roy said: "Gatwick is already the best-connected London airport for Northern Ireland links. That would only strengthen with expansion."

He added that another Gatwick runway would reduce prices and improve service, while also enhancing connectivity between the UK regions and offering a genuine choice of two world-class gateway airports in London.

The Donegal-born man said businesses and consumers should be able to fly from their local airport to the widest range of destinations, at the lowest cost.

Sir Roy, who also claimed further expansion at Heathrow would restrict competition, said a second Gatwick runway would generate a £90bn economic boost for the whole of the UK and provide a cheaper, faster and more simple scheme.

"Expansion at Gatwick will give the greatest stimulus to competition, which is the best means of achieving this," he added.

It comes as the Airports Commission considers the merits of which major airport should be allowed another runway.

Each airport's plans are being assessed ahead of a government-appointed commission's final report next summer.

The £7.8bn plan at Gatwick would mean an extra 260,000 flights a year by 2050, compared with 248,000 a year now.

If Heathrow gets the green light for its £15.6bn package, the number of annual flights there would increase from 472,000 to 740,000 by around 2030.

In submissions to the commission, Heathrow said its plan would create 100,000 new jobs, and Gatwick chiefs claimed their plan would create 120, 000.

Members of the Northern Ireland Institute of Directors, the CBI, Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, along with Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Airport will be addressed on the improved connectivity an expanded Gatwick would arguably provide.

Belfast Telegraph