Gatwick airport considers bringing standby runway into "routine use"

Marco Green
October 19, 2018

It comes after a bid to build an entire new second runway at Gatwick was rejected by the Government in favour of the Heathrow expansion in December 2016.

The plan would see the maintenance and emergency runway - which runs parallel to the main runway - fractionally further to the north, in order for it to comply with "all worldwide safety requirement".

This 40-year planning agreement will come to an end in 2019. The work would take two to three years to complete.

The Davies Report instead opted to recommend a third runway be built at Heathrow Airport.

It added that while it was no longer actively seeking to build a new runway to the south of the airport, it still wants land kept for this objective. Gatwick said it believed it remained a credible means of providing longer-term growth for the United Kingdom, but it would not now pursue it while the government was backing Heathrow expansion, approved by parliament this summer.

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.

Plans by Gatwick Airport to use its emergency runway to increase capacity have been branded as "despicable" and a "stab in the heart" for residents.

Gatwick's chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: "As the United Kingdom heads towards an important new chapter, Gatwick's growing global connections are needed more than ever, but this must be achieved in the most sustainable way".

A detailed planning proposal and full public consultation would be required before it could go ahead.

Activists say the move is "totally underhand" and will mean there will be an extra 231 planes taking off each day.

Anti expansion campaigner Sally Pavey, who lives near Horsham and spearheads the group Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions, said: "This is simply betrayal of communities of Sussex, Surrey and Kent who have already endured the increases in longhaul movements this year by 24.1 per cent - this is a second runway by the backdoor".

But Sally Pavey, of Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emission, said: "You can not have tens of thousands more flights without more noise".

"It's outrageous that they can be announcing a second runway and safeguarding land for another one too".

"The local authorities pick up the bill for the now crumbling infrastructure whilst Gatwick continues to seek to clog further with 50m passengers off a single runway".

"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".

He said the airport had experienced a lot of success in bringing in new longhaul routes and the masterplan proposals would enable more to be created.

CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn added: "The CBI welcomes Gatwick's highly productive proposals to deliver increased capacity that complements expansion schemes at other airports. This will drive trade and investment, create new jobs and help British businesses thrive".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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