These extracts below are from the speech given by Sir John Stanley MP at the recent aviation meeting arranged by Kent County Council in Hever Castle (and can also be found at link http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2014-12-18a.1621.0)
“…..The key elements in any financial evaluation are the crucial lines of financial numbers and the assumptions behind those numbers. Let us consider the key document published by Gatwick Airport Ltd and the appendix entitled “Financial Model”. In paragraph 3.4 on financing, for example, we would expect lines of figures, but instead we have lines of scissors—every single figure has been redacted. When we look at similar paragraphs, the balance sheet or the cash-flow statement, similarly, it is all scissors. In the crucial paragraph on tax—tax payable is a critical element of a financial evaluation—again we find acute disappointment……..”
Having seen that lack of information, when I and some of my colleagues who have constituencies in the vicinity of Gatwick airport met its chief executive, Mr Stewart Wingate, I asked him why he had redacted all that information. His answer was that it was commercially confidential, but I do not accept that that argument has validity. It would be valid if Gatwick Airport Ltd were competing for a franchise over the airport, but it is not. Gatwick Airport Ltd is the owner of the airport, which it bought from the British Airports Authority for £1.5 billion in 2009. In those circumstances, I do not believe that the issue of commercial confidentiality reasonably arises; much more fundamental is that there should be openness and transparency at what is a critical time moment for those living in the vicinity of Gatwick and indeed Heathrow.
It is time-critical because this is the last-chance saloon and the last opportunity for members of the public and their elected representatives to give their views to the Airports Commission about the three available options—after the general election the commission will make its choice. This is a critical moment, and I consider that Gatwick Airport Ltd has failed—and failed scandalously —to be open and transparent about the financial evaluation of its project…..”
“…In my view, Gatwick Airport Ltd is simply seeking a blank cheque from UK taxpayers, signed on their behalf to provide the surface access infrastructure that will be needed.
In conclusion, on the grounds that Gatwick Airport Ltd has totally failed to be transparent about its financial evaluation, and has concealed the public expenditure implications of the infrastructure needed for a second runway, its proposal should be rejected by the Airports Commission”
Seems MP’s and not even Sir Howard Davies knows any more than the general public about whether Gatwick has a business case for its second runway bid – maybe the real business case is something other than long term investment in UK transport infrastructure?