Garuda have become the latest of many airlines to move from Gatwick to Heathrow. There is a well-established pattern for foreign airlines to test the waters on the UK market at Gatwick and then, as soon as they can get slots, move to Heathrow. Better transport, a wider and wealthier catchment area and connections all over Europe and the rest of the world make Heathrow the aim for any airline flying to the UK.
Gatwick appears to work well for budget and leisure flights but that is it. Even the airlines who are succeeding at Gatwick at the moment, do not want a second runway because they fear they will have to pay for it.
The logic for a third runway at Heathrow is overwhelming but what would happen if the government took the easy option and decided in favour of Gatwick? No airline would willingly give up their position at Heathrow. Reduced charges at Gatwick probably would not tempt them either since they do not at the moment. If existing airlines at Gatwick were faced with higher charges to pay for the runway they might be forced to move all or some of their flights to Stansted or even Luton.
The pull of Heathrow is so strong that the only way to break it would be to close the airport completely. Clearly that s not going to happen.
Garuda know what they are doing – we must hope the government does too.