Gatwick Airport has published a ‘final master plan’ setting out proposals for future airport development, including using its standby runway for routine flights.
Gatwick says the plan is supported by results from a 12-week public consultation, which show two thirds of respondents are in favour of the airport ‘making best use of its existing runways’ – although the announcement has been criticised by campaigners and politicians.
“The plans would deliver additional capacity for Gatwick, which will provide choices for the future – including incrementally growing our airport to meet demand and continuing to provide solid operational performance for passengers and airlines,” said London Gatwick’s CEO, Stewart Wingate.
“This would be the biggest private investment for the region in the coming years, which would result in significant local economic benefits, including new jobs for the area.”
The airport will apply for planning permission to widen their backup runway in order to bring it into full operational use by the mid-2020s, albeit for departures only.
Another recommendation Gatwick makes in the plans is for local planning policy to safeguard land in case it is needed for an extra runway in the future – despite the airport saying they are no longer actively pursuing plans for an additional runway.
Campaign group Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions were vocal in their opposition to the plan, saying it would lead to a “second runway by stealth.”
The Gatwick Co-ordination Group, made up of members of parliament, was also critical, saying the airport “has continually under-invested in the local amenities and social infrastructure that would be required to support a project of this size and scale.”
They said: “We cannot support expansion of the airport without a comprehensive investment in the local area which would ease pressure on the over-stretched road and rail systems serving the airport.”