A fresh war of words has broken out between Heathrow and Gatwick about who has the most generous plans to compensate neighbouring residents.
Gatwick today outlined eight pledges to ensure those living and working on its doorstep would benefit should a second runway get the go-ahead.
They include £46.5 million for local authorities to build new homes and associated infrastructure, £45m to pay the council tax of those most affected by noise, and another £5m for a more generous noise insulation scheme.
The commitments, made in the airport's latest submission to the Airports Commission, were announced just days after Heathrow launched its public consultation about how to spend the £550m compensation it has promised local residents should it get the go-ahead for a third runway.
Announcing its community pledges today, which add up to £256m, Gatwick's chief executive Stewart Wingate said: "A second runway would create a £90 billion boost to the UK. We are determined to be a good neighbour and not lose sight of the concerns of those communities close to home.
“We've listened to local people and have created a wide range of pledges to deliver improvements in many of the areas that matter to them most, from new jobs and housing, to business support and noise mitigation.
"These pledges will help Gatwick deliver on its promises to the local community and we challenge Heathrow to match our comprehensive local commitments in their own expansion plans."
However, Heathrow said its £550m compensation offer is more than twice the total sum on the table from Gatwick, and questioned whether its rival could even afford to meet its promises.
A Heathrow spokesman said: "Heathrow's minimum £550m noise, property and community buildings scheme is more than twice as well funded as Gatwick's.
"It is also highly doubtful whether they can finance it. Their submission remains a secret. So until the business case is made public, who knows?"
Heathrow's £550m compensation package includes about £300m for the compulsory purchase of 750 homes to the north west of the airport, where the third runway would be built.
Both Heathrow and Gatwick have promised to pay householders whose homes are demolished 25 per cent above the market value of their properties.
Gatwick estimates 166 homes would have to be torn down to make way for a second runway. It says this figure and the much lower number of people living under its flight paths, are the reason its total compensation offer is so much lower.
John Stewart, chairman of anti-Heathrow expansion group HACAN this week described Heathrow's £550m compensation package as a 'drop in the ocean' compared to what is offered by other major European airports.