The Gatwick vs. Heathrow debate began in September 2012 when the Airports Commission was established by the Department of Transport, with a mandate to set out how the United Kingdom could: “maintain its status as an international hub for aviation” as it was losing routes to other European hubs. Nearly 3 years later in July 2015 the Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, former chairman of the Financial Services Authority, published their report recommending that a third runway at Heathrow was the best way to expand the UK’s airport capacity. However many disagreed with these findings and the Gatwick vs. Heathrow debate has intensified whilst we’re waiting for the Government to make its final decision. Both airports have been strengthening their individual cases to win the backing of the government, and many thought leaders have been weighing in on the debate including politicians, journalists, and environmental campaigners.

Gatwick released their own report entitled “Response to Airports Commission Consultation” stating more work was needed to produce a thorough, balanced, fair, sound and robust assessment. A few key areas lacking in the Airport Commision’s report highlighted by Gatwick were: Traffic Forecasts where Gatwick’s traffic was understated, and capacity and traffic at Heathrow overstated; Economic Assessments, where inherent errors in traffic modelling, capacity assessment and the impact of competition were apparent; Cost and Financing, where a more in-depth assessment of the comparative costs, financial proposals and risks needs to be undertaken; and Air Quality and Noise, where the challenges facing Heathrow have been understated, and where greater transparency is needed to understand the impacts more clearly. A condition of Heathrow expansion is “acceptable” air quality, but the air around Heathrow already breaches EU limits. Heathrow’s expansion would break European air quality rules, delaying the construction of an extra runway and harming the environment.

Heathrow argue that only they can connect the UK to long-haul growth markets and make more routes financially viable for airlines, as Heathrow is where that demand is strongest. They also say they are the best placed to deliver jobs, more exports and business as 120 of the UK’s top 300 company HQs are within a 15 mile radius of Heathrow.

WHAT ARE THE EXPERTS SAYING?

We reached out to some of the top 10 influencers identified on our list to ask them for their views on the Gatwick vs. Heathrow debate.  We spoke to John Stewart from HACAN (#6), Liam Halligan from The Telegraph (#8), Darren Johnson AM from The Green Party (#11)  and John Rentoul from The Independent (#17). Be sure to follow them to stay up to date on their stories! (click on the names to see their Twitter profiles)

John Stewart Heathrow vs. Gatwick debate

 

John Stewart – Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN)

 

“Twitter has helped liven up this debate and bring it to a wider audience.  And it is debate that will go on throughout 2016.  Few things are more controversial than a new runway.  It can bring big economic benefits but also cause huge problems for both the environment and people living under the flight paths.”

 


Liam Halligan Gatwick vs. Heathrow: Top 100 Influencers and Brands Onalytica

 Liam Halligan – The Telegraph

 

 

 

“It strikes me that with a price tag of £7bn, and involving far less home demolition and noise pollution, an extra Gatwick runway is a far more logical option.”

 


Darren Johnson AM - Gatwick vs. Heathrow Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Onalytica

 

Darren Johnson AM – The Green Party

 

 

“Rather than Gatwick or Heathrow, being serious about the environment means saying no to both and using existing capacity more sensibly.”

 


 

John Rentoul Gatwick vs. Heathrow Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Onalytica

 

John Rentoul – The Independent

 

 

“Heathrow third runway: not going to happen. Thirty per cent of all people affected by aircraft noise in the European Union live near Heathrow, and they have votes.”

 

MAPPING THE GATWICK VS. HEATHROW COMMUNITY

We were very interested in seeing which professionals and brands were leading the online discussion, so we analysed over 50K tweets matching the following query: “airport expansion” OR airportexpansion OR ((gatwick OR heathrow OR #lgw) AND (Expansion OR Runway OR Aviation OR Noise OR “Air Pollution” OR “Howard Davies” OR “Night flights” OR “Zac Goldsmith” OR Connectivity OR Hub OR “Air Quality”)) OR gatwickexpansion OR heathrowexpansion OR “Airport Commission” OR “Boris Island” and identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter. We discovered a very engaged community, with much discussion between individuals and brands, joining together in conversations. Below you can see a network map of the online conversation created with our Influencer Relationship Management software IRM. This map shows the brand Gatwick Obviously at the centre, and the conversations to and from all the influencers in that field.

 

Gatwick vs. Heathrow Top 100 Influencers and Brands Network Map

 

Be sure to click on the map to enjoy the full size network diagram in greater detail!

Below you can see another network map created in IRM showing the brand Clean Air London at the centre, and the conversations to and from the different influencers. As you can see it is a very engaged community with many conversations. If you are interested in learning more about identifying, managing and engaging with influencers click here to get in touch!

Gatwick vs. Heathrow Top 100 Influencers and Brands Network Map 2

 

TOP 100 INDIVIDUALS

We looked at all the individuals engaging on Twitter to bring you a list of the top 100 most influential individuals in the Gatwick vs. Heathrow debate.

Be sure to hit the download button below to grab the full report and see who ranks beyond the top 50.

Get All The Insights!

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Rank Twitter Handle Name Organisation Influencer Score
1 @BBCNormanS norman smith BBC 100
2 @ZacGoldsmith Zac Goldsmith Conservative Party 55.61
3 @danwtech Dan Whitworth BBC 43.26
4 @johnmcdonnellMP John McDonnell Labour Party 30.12
5 @SadiqKhan Sadiq Khan MP Labour Party 24.74
6 @HACAN1 John Stewart HACAN 22.85
7 @EamonnHolmes Eamonn Holmes Sky News / ITV 21.96
8 @LiamHalligan Liam Halligan Telegraph 17.1
9 @hammersmithandy Andy Slaughter MP Labour Party 15.64
10 @BBCTomEdwards Tom Edwards BBC 15.12
11 @DarrenJohnsonAM Darren Johnson AM Green Party 14.74
12 @AdamAfriyie Adam Afriyie Conservative Party 11.39
13 @tania_mathias Dr Tania Mathias Conservative Party 10.39
14 @DavidLammy David Lammy Labour Party 9.25
15 @HackneyAbbott Diane Abbott Labour Party 9.11
16 @SunriseIsabel Isabel Webster Sky News 8.95
17 @JohnRentoul John Rentoul Independent 8.32
18 @GarethThomasMP Gareth Thomas Labour Co-op Party 7.99
19 @guyshrubsole Guy Shrubsole Friends of the Earth 7.59
20 @matthew1butcher Matthew Butcher Green Party 7.25
21 @natalieben Natalie Bennett Green Party 7.16
22 @AdamBienkov Adam Bienkov Politics.co.uk 6.74
23 @chrisshipitv Chris Ship ITV News 6.5
24 @CarolinePidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrats 6.35
25 @thomasforth Tom Forth imactivate 6.22
26 @FOHeming Henry Heming ✈™ Menzies Aviation 5.52
27 @IainDale Iain Dale LBC Radio 5.22
28 @faisalislam Faisal Islam Sky News 4.96
29 @James_BG James Murray Business Green 4.75
30 @tom_chance Tom Chance Green Party 4.7
31 @susana_mendonca Susana Mendonça BBC 4.44
32 @RobBarnstone Robert Barnstone HACAN 4.38
33 @Jonathan__Leake Jonathan Leake Sunday Times 4.3
34 @jon_bartley Jonathan Bartley Green Party 3.76
35 @bencobley Ben Cobley Freelance Writer 3.44
36 @PickardJE Jim Pickard Financial Times 3.22
37 @MartinHoscik Martin Hoscik Mayorwatch 3.21
38 @flybyday63 mariabonita British Airways 3.08
39 @rachel_hump Rachel Humphreys LBC Radio 2.99
40 @GreenJennyJones Jenny Jones Green Party 2.87
41 @kevinjgsmith Kevin Smith Global Justice 2.62
42 @gyxk56 Guy Martin Sevenoaks Council 2.51
43 @SimonLLewis Simon Lewis UCL 2.38
44 @ladawncp LaDawn Freelance Writer 2.21
45 @ChrisMasonBBC Chris Mason BBC 2.19
46 @ChrisWarne_ Chris Warne H+K strategies 2.19
47 @simonharrisitv Simon Harris ITV News 2.14
48 @sianberry Sian Berry Green Party 2.11
49 @jamespargeter James Pargeter Deloitte Real Estate 2.06
50 @AndrewSimms_uk Andrew Simms New Economics Foundation 2.02

 

TOP 100 BRANDS

With all the discussion and resources available online, our analysis produced a great set of independent information resources and communities. Influential brands such as The Today Programme, The Telegraph and BBC News are leading the debate.

Download The Full Report

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Rank Twitter Handle Name Influencer Score
1 @BBCr4today BBC Radio 4 Today 100
2 @planestupid Plane Stupid 73.86
3 @yourHeathrow yourHeathrow 38.43
4 @HeathrowAirport Heathrow Airport 38.07
5 @Gatwick_Airport Gatwick Airport LGW 35.88
6 @Telegraph The Telegraph 29.26
7 @teamcaroline_1 Team Caroline 22.83
8 @BBCNews BBC News (UK) 28.46
9 @LGWobviously Gatwick Obviously 25.47
10 @guardian The Guardian 22.78
11 @AirportWatch AirportWatch 18.84
12 @runwaysuk Runways UK 18.74
13 @LBC LBC 16.36
14 @CityAM City A.M. 14.73
15 @BBCLondon949 BBC LONDON 94.9 14.41
16 @itvmeridian ITV News Meridian 12.13
17 @BBCLondonNews BBC London Newsroom 11.7
18 @itvnews ITV News 10.8
19 @StopCityAirport Stop City Airport ✈ 8.57
20 @LetBritainFly Let Britain Fly 8.02
21 @BackHeathrow Back Heathrow 7.15
22 @TheGreenParty The Green Party 7.02
23 @airlivenet AirLive.net 6.98
24 @CityMetric CityMetric 6.17
25 @LibDemPress Lib Dem Press Office 5.87
26 @TeamKhan2015 Team Khan 2015 5.58
27 @CleanAirLondon Clean Air in London 5.48
28 @wolmarforlondon Wolmar for London 4.99
29 @politicshome PoliticsHome 4.72
30 @transheathrow Transition Heathrow 4.45
31 @TimesBusiness TimesBusiness 4.18
32 @GreenLondonAMs GreenLondonAMs 4.17
33 @nodashforgas Reclaim The Power 4.13
34 @heathrow_biz HeathrowBIZ 3.92
35 @LogicalCampaign Logical Campaign 3.76
36 @ECIU_UK ECIU 3.49
37 @DianeforLondon Diane for London 3.48
38 @HeathrowNoise Heathrow Noise 3.48
39 @BBCWorldatOne The World at One 3.17
40 @GreenpeaceUK Greenpeace UK 3.09
41 @MT_Aviation MT Aviation ✈ 2.9
42 @London_First London First 2.86
43 @CarbonBrief Carbon Brief 2.64
44 @MayorWatch MayorWatch 2.62
45 @iealondon IEA 2.51
46 @LBRUT Richmond Council 2.48
47 @kewtweets kewtweets 2.36
48 @daily_politics DailySunday Politics 2.31
49 @BBCNewsnight BBC Newsnight 2.29
50 @NATSPressOffice NATS 2.15

 

Influencer Marketing campaigns generate impressive results, the average earned media value (EMV) from US influencer marketing programs was 1.4 times higher in H1 2015 than the overall average in full-year 2014. At Onalytica we love building these lists and want to give back to our loyal readers as much as we can. If you’re interested in other topics (such as Machine to Machine, Wearable TechInternet of Things) be sure to have a gander on our blog or why not propose some topics to us on twitter? We also build some very cool software to manage all of these influencers. Get a free demo today by clicking the button below!

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Disclaimer: As ever with these lists, it must be stressed that the ranking is by no means a definitive measurement of influence, as there is no such thing. The brands and individuals listed are undoubtedly influential when it comes to driving discussion in the Gatwick vs Heathrow debate. The PageRank based methodology we use to extract influencers on a particular topic takes into account the number and quality of contextual references that a user receives. These calculations are independent of a user’s number of followers, but we do filter our lists based on how much a user is engaged in the conversation and the influence they drive through their networks.

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