Gatwick Airport
A decision on whether a new runway should be built at Gatwick, pictured, or Heathrow could be delayed until next yearGetty

The government could wait until the New Year to give the green light to either Gatwick or Heathrow airports to build a new runway.

The Airports Commission is assessing the airports' submissions to see which one would provide the best economic future for the UK.

Gatwick wants to build a second runway while Heathrow has put forward plans for a third runway to the north-west of the airport and an extended northern runway.

The commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, is expected to recommend one of the plans by the end of the summer with some reports claiming it could come as early as the end of June.

But despite the commission's imminent approval, the FT reports that the government will take months to have its final say and there will be no decision before Christmas.

The news comes as both airports make their final sales pitches ahead of Davies's recommendation.

Gatwick upped the ante when CEO Steve Wingate said the airport's shareholders had given the green light to take its fight all the way to court if the government opts for Heathrow.

He said Heathrow's pollution levels meant there was "zero probability" of a third runway at the west London airport.

Heathrow countered, claiming its plans were the best value for money options on the table and would bring a £211bn (€289bn, $327bn) boost to the UK economy.