Gatwick Might Do Itself a Second Runway Anyway

Mae Love
October 21, 2018

A 40-year-old planning agreement with West Sussex County Council stating the standby runway can only be used in an emergency or when the main one is closed for maintenance expires next year.

Gatwick has released a draft masterplan for the future of the airport, including the potential of bringing its current standby runway into routine use.

However Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said the proposed use of the existing standby runway would not increase airport noise and would meet all global safety requirements, If it progresses the plan, a detailed planning proposal would be submitted.

Mr Wingate said that his employers estimated demand at the airport would rise from 47.1million passengers per year in 2018 to 60million by 2032.

Gatwick airport has revealed controversial plans that could see over eighty thousand extra flights a year.

Even without extra infrastructure, the airport expects to grow significantly, from 45 million to 60 million passengers per year, by flying more and larger planes on its existing runway.

It also highlights a recent call from the United Kingdom government for airports to "make best use of their existing runways".

Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport

The core proposal in an ambitious 15-year masterplan published on Thursday shows that Gatwick, the UK's second-biggest airport, in south-east England, hopes to serve up to 70 million passengers a year with two runways - nearly as many passengers as Heathrow today.

The centre lines of Gatwick's main and emergency runways are separated by 198 metres.

The plan also proposes the use of technology to increase the concentration of flights using the main runway.

The group's chairman, Peter Barclay, said: "People will feel angry and deceived following parliament's overwhelming decision in June to confirm the government's earlier choice of Heathrow for the site of additional runway capacity in the South East".

The proposal is part of a draft master plan, which also includes using new technology to increase capacity on the main runway and safeguarding the land where a new runway would be built if permission is obtained in the future.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: "Now more than ever, unlocking new aviation capacity to deliver global trade links is critical for a strong United Kingdom economy".

"Gatwick is responsible for the 360 decline due to the pressure this airport puts on the infrastructure and lack of local amenities, we do not need the added concern of safety of planes in and out of Gatwick during the peak "bucket and spade" season when all airports in London area at busy". The mayor, Sadiq Khan, said: "I've always been clear that the south-east needs additional airport capacity and that this could be delivered quicker and more cheaply at Gatwick, without the same impact a new runway at Heathrow would have. This will help shape our plans for securing the region's prosperity". The cost of this would be half a billion pounds, however the airport has said it could create around 20,000 new jobs.

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