Come fly with me - by David Callam
19th September 2008
... Comments

FELLOW Croydon travellers: have you heard the good news. The dead hand of monopoly is about to be lifted from the throat of Gatwick Airport.

BAA, a former government regulator, privatised as a virtual monopoly, has decided to jump before the Competition Commission pushes it into selling one or more of its three London airports.

This is particularly good news for those of us who live and work in Croydon as it will bring much-needed innovation leading to higher standards of customer service.

Among other things, this will result in a greater choice of destinations to which to fly and therefore a reduced need to embark on the nightmare journey to Heathrow.

A new owner of Gatwick will have different ideas about how it should be organised and will argue vociferously, I hope, for the addition of a second runway as soon as existing planning prescriptions run out.

No doubt there will be the usual crop of protestors demanding unrealistic restrictions, but a combination of new planning regulations and an owner for whom the airport is its primary business should increase the likelihood of defeating them.

Everyone in Croydon should support expansion at Gatwick, particularly those, like me, with younger children: an airport is a job magnet for people of all abilities.

Since Gatwick is such an easy train journey from anywhere in the borough, there is no reason why Croydon's next generation shouldn't benefit hugely from this stroke of good fortune - being in the right place at the right time.

There are undoubtedly environmental concerns about increases in aviation, but if indications to date are any guide, they will not stop people flying.

And in that case, it's better surely to make the whole journey as carbon neutral as possible - which means travelling to and from the airport by electrically powered train, rather than fossil-fuelled car.

It also means aircraft using a less congested airport, taking off and landing over largely open country, rather than being stacked over densely-populated south London, with all the attendant noise and other pollutants.

Heathrow is a 60-year-old planning mistake - an independent Gatwick is one small step in a long-overdue correction process.

Croydon Eye is a weekly commentary written exclusively for The Best of Croydon by David Callam and posted in the blog section every Thursday.

David Callam is a freelance journalist and the former business editor of The Croydon Advertiser. For more examples of his work and to see what he could do for your business please visit

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Maud T

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Hi - me and my gang champion and promote the best businesses in the Croydon and Bromley Boroughs. If you are a local business owner, then we'd love to help you grow your profile, profits and get more business.

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