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Gatwick gears up for busiest day

Gatwick's busiest day Credit: PA

Today is expected to be the busiest day of the year at Gatwick Airport. With children now broken up from school for the summer break 77,000 are passengers expected to pass through the departure gates. This weekend will see around 290,000 passengers depart the airport and around 508,000 passengers in total that week, making it Gatwick's busiest week of the year.

Air and rail bosses quizzed after weather chaos

The Chief Executive of Gatwick Airport will be quizzed by MPs in Westminster. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

The Chief Executive of Gatwick Airport is due before the House of Commons Transport Committee today to answer questions about pre-Christmas disruption at the airport.

Stewart Wingate will give evidence followed by Dave Ward, Network Rail's Managing Director for London and the South East.

Thousands of passengers had their Christmas travel plans ruined when they were stranded at Gatwick Airport after stormy weather. Power problems at its north terminal affected check-ins.

No trains ran to or from the airport for most of Christmas Eve because of fallen trees on the line and disruption across the network.

Southern Railways suspended its Gatwick Express services because of a landslip between East Croydon and the airport and didn't start running again until January 2

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Government accused of Heathrow expansion U-turn

The Government has been accused of a U-turn on Heathrow expansion today, after the Transport Secretary said he would not rule out a third Runway at the airport.

His comments come ahead of a report published this week on options to address London's airport capacity crisis.

ITV London's Robyn Dwyer has the full story:

Decision in 18 months despite Heathrow 'obsession'

The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has spoken of the "obsession" around building more runways at Heathrow Airport, adding that Government will listen to a panel of experts before making any decisions in 18 months time on the future of UK air capacity.

What we said at the last general election was that we would not build a third runway in this Parliament.

We will not be building a third runway in this Parliament. We will stick by our manifesto commitment.

But it is right for the long-term future of the United Kingdom, we have a panel of experts who will widely be regarded as doing a proper and comprehensive job, and I want to see what their interim report is this week and their final report in 18 months' time and then we'll be able to say which is the right way to go forward.

– The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin

Asked on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show if the right way forward would be Heathrow expansion, Mr McLoughlin said: "You seem more obsessed about Heathrow than I am."

After being told "everyone is obsessed about it", Mr McLoughlin replied: "Indeed they are, but let's wait and see what the commission say in the longer term."

Transport Secretary won't rule out Heathrow expansion

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has refused to rule out Heathrow airport expansion after 2015 and insisted David Cameron would not be betraying voters if a third runway is built in west London after the next election.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin Credit: David Jones/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mr McLoughlin appeared to suggest people are "obsessing" over Heathrow with the Government-appointed Airports Commission due to publish an interim report containing a short-list of options for extra runways at UK airports this week.

There has been speculation that the commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, will include options for a third or even a fourth runway at the west London airport, to the dismay of London Mayor Boris Johnson and prominent Tory backbencher Zac Goldsmith.

Whitehall leaks suggest expansion to London's airports

Whitehall sources have suggested that an interim report by the Davies Airport Commission could select three or four choices from the 58 options its has been presented with - all are London airports

A sign in the village of Longford near Heathrow Airport. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Sources close to the Commission, as cited by the Independent on Sunday, suggest a third runway at Heathrow will be included, with two options north and south of the airport's current runways. Either could be expanded and could transform Heathrow into a four-runway airport.

Plans for second runways at Gatwick and Stansted are also expected to be taken on, while the newspaper says leaks from Whitehall suggest the London Mayor's Boris Island proposal for a new airport hub in the Thames estuary may be dead in the water.

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