What about a Heathrow Gatwick link.
There’s been lots of discussion recently about the expansion of air transport capacity in Britain, and whether or not Heathrow should have a third runway or perhaps build a new airport somewhere in the Thames estuary. Gatwick only has one runway, however there appears some legal restriction stopping any development of a second runway there till 2019.
However there’s one thing that has been discussed a little bit in the past but seems to have fallen by the way-side and that’s sorting out a fast rail link between Heathrow and Gatwick.
At the moment Heathrow has a fast rail link into Paddington and Gatwick has its train service into Victoria. Both have coach operators doing shuttles into central London and Heathrow is also on the Piccadilly line of the London underground system.
However, though these two airports are only about 23 miles apart (line of sight) there’s no good quality connection between the two. Going by road involves about 40 miles of travel, this includes part of the M25 and generally over some of the most congested roads you’ll find anywhere. (It would not take much to turn this 40 mile journey into a 2 hour drive.) Going by rail involves heading into central London, changing, going around London, then to change again for the final leg out to the other airport.
Getting a fast rail link between the two could cut journey times down to about 15 or 20 minutes so enabling you to treat the two airports as one. (It can take this length of time to get from one Heathrow terminal to another, so to have your ‘other terminal’ at Gatwick would not slow things down very much.) Facilities could be shared such as checking into one airport covers both locations, and could allow for more efficient use of the existing runway resources.
It would not solve the long term problem of lack of runway capacity, but a Heathrow Gatwick link could certainly provide that bit more flexibility in the operation of two of the world’s busiest airports.