‘To be given so much responsibility at a relatively early stage in my career was a huge learning curve.’

Personal profile
Name: Remi Martins-Tonks
Position: Consultant
Oxera career: Intern 2011, Analyst 2012, Consultant 2014
Education: MSc Economics, Warwick University
BSc Economics & Econometrics, Nottingham University

Project profile
Client: Gatwick Airport
Sector: Transport
Project: New runway assessment
Skills: Modelling

Q: Remi, tell us about the work you did on the Gatwick project.
A: Gatwick Airport Ltd hired us to provide an independent assessment
on the economic impact of building a new runway at either Gatwick
or Heathrow.

Our report was submitted to the Airports Commission, an independent body set up by the UK government tasked with recommending whether a new airport runway should be built in South East England and, if so, where.

Q: How did we help the client and what role did you play?
A: We provided economic analysis on the impact that a new runway would have on passengers, airlines and the airport itself.

My role involved thinking through the application of a practical solution and innovative approach to the problem. Working closely with senior colleagues, we sought to ensure that our economic and conceptual framework would be sufficiently robust to stand up to the anticipated intense scrutiny of our analysis on one of the biggest transport policy issues in the UK at the time.

We then built a model to estimate the impact of the two runway options on the UK economy, illustrating our economic analysis. A main aspect of the analysis included estimations of changes in consumer and producer surplus that would occur from the different runway schemes.

We communicated the results to Gatwick Airport in a report, summarising the implications while also providing robust sensitivity analysis.

I also attended meetings where we presented the analysis to the client, getting first-hand experience of key decision-making and high-level economic discussions.

Q: How do you think we made a difference?
A: Our approach went beyond much of the appraisal guidance used by the Department for Transport. We presented the results in a clear and rigorous report, with explanations of the processes and methodologies we used. The analysis will help to inform how the Airports Commission thinks about key issues in the debate, such as the effect of airport and airline competition on economic activity.

Q: Was the project successful?
A: We are waiting for a decision. This project is still live. However, we do know the client was particularly pleased with the sound economic logic used to build our analysis.

Q: What did you learn personally?
A: Collaboration is key! We worked extensively with our client as well
as other consultancies throughout the process. I have personally gained a huge amount of experience in task management, building large Excel models and communicating complicated methodologies directly to our client.

To be given so much responsibility at a relatively early stage in my career was a great opportunity to think through the application of economic theories. In particular, transport economic theories, such as economic rent in the airline market and competition.