A good advantage that Gatwick has is over ground train connections. I often get the train in to Gatwick when i visit and its very convenient (even if trains only go into my local station twice an hour). Gatwick also has a direct train service to London Victoria with Gatwick Express which takes little more than 15 minutes. Also you can get to Gatwick from Brighton, Portsmouth Harbour and Bognor Regis without changing trains (Although sometimes the Portsmouth Harbour/Bognor Regis train splits at Barnham), and all the stations in between. If i was flying somewhere from Heathrow and i was forced to take the train, my route would be (I did this a few weeks ago) South West Trains from Haslemere to Waterloo, tube from Waterloo to Embankment on the Bakerloo line, then Embankment to Hammersmith on the District line, then Hammersmith to Heathrow on the Piccadilly line. Now the tube journey is about an hour on its own on a day when they are running smoothly. We all know what the underground's like. Now, to Gatwick i go down to Billingshurst station which is also a bit nearer than Haslemere get on the train and after 4 stops (Christ's Hospital, Horsham, Crawley, Three Bridges) I'm there. It only takes 25 minutes on the train.
Ok that's just from my village which is very small, but the same occurs from all over south east England. If you live south of London, Gatwick is a lot easier to get to.
Gatwick has lost a lot of flights from a lot of airlines post 9/11. Not just BA
Virgin Atlantic: Boston, Toronto, Newark, Miami, Athens
Canada 3000: All flights
Continental: 1x Newark, Cleveland
American: St. Louis
Delta: Los Angeles
Northwest: Seattle and Los Angeles from the MSP
Finnair: All flights
There's more, but just look what we've got since then:
Emirates: 1x daily to 3x daily from Dubai
Virgin Atlantic: More caribbean flights, plus Port Harcourt flight
Easyjet: All current flights
Zoom: Summer flights (are they still flying)
Dba: 3 or 4 times daily flights to Berlin
Air Southwest: Picking up what BA
Astraeus: All current flights
FlyJet: All current flights
Air Luxor: Daily (i think) flights to/from Lisbon
TAP Air Portugal: More flights to Lisbon and Oporto
Adria Airlines: Once daily to Ljubljana
US Airways: Extra Philadelphia flight (seasonal)
American: Extra Dallas Ft. Worth flight
Air Europa: 3x daily flights to Palma and Madrid
Aurigny: Picking up the lost BA
Nationwide: 2 or 3 weekly flights to South Africa
and there's more!
may have fallen apart after 9/11 but it's certainly picked itself up again. I'm sure we'd all prefer to see those 5 extra long haul Virgin flights as opposed to all the easyjet flights, but its better than nothing, which could have happened.
My wild idea of how LGW
could expand was that they extended runway 08L to be the length of 08R/26L but going out of the airport. If they were landing from the west they land on 08L and if they were taking off to the west they'd depart on 26R. This way there doesn't need to be a taxiway going to the end of the runway, and they won't need to taxi on the runway to the end, therefore taking up less space. It wouldn't involve de-homing people as there is just a few huge fields there. I know it will never go ahead, but it's just my idea and I think it would work