The fight for a new runway has made me grey, says the airport boss set for a £5m pay day if he gets his way

Runway battle: Gatwick boss Stewart Wingate, 4

Runway battle: Gatwick boss Stewart Wingate, 4

Being asked to guess someone’s age is always disconcerting. So when Stewart Wingate, the chief executive of Gatwick, insists I take a stab at how old he is, I decide to err on the flattering side and plump for 48.

In reality, I imagine the genial north-easterner, who has rosy apple-cheeks but a mop of steel grey hair, is several years older, maybe 55.

Oops. He was 45 on Saturday. Clearly, he has been prematurely aged by his tireless championing of his airport in its fight with Heathrow for an extra runway.

Before I start to squirm too visibly, he admits as much. ‘It’s the effect of this battle, it’s taking its toll,’ he laughs.

A decision on which airport will get the extra runway is due within days. But even if it comes out in favour of Heathrow, Wingate won’t give up.

‘There is a strong need for an additional runway at Gatwick….

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