Gatwick Announces Plans for Second Runway


Gatwick bosses today unveiled £500 million plans for a second runway that would boost the airport’s capacity to 75 million passengers.

Chief executive Stewart Wingate said a 12-week public consultation on the proposal would begin on September 9.

The scheme would involve upgrading Gatwick’s Northern Runway and repositioning it by 12 metres in time for an opening in summer 2029.

It is only currently used as a taxiway and as a standby for the main runway during maintenance and emergencies.

The would be used for takeoff only by smaller European shorthaul aircraft with the main runway still being used for all landings.

The bill for the airstrip itself is estimated to be around £500 million with extra terminal capacity and other work pushing the total cost up to the high hundreds of millions.

Mr Wingate said that despite the current depressed level of international travel the expected passenger numbers to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2025 or 2026 with London’s capacity being exceeded by demand once again soon after that.

With Heathrow’s planned expansion increasing its capacity to 120 million passengers, the two schemes would increase London’s overall capacity to well over 250 million by the 2030s including Stansted, Luton and Southend.

Mr Wingate said the project would create 18,400 extra jobs for the area by 2038.

The plans would be considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project requiring the airport to apply for a Development Consent Order. It hopes to have planning consent by 2024.

Gatwick has operated as a single runway airport since it opened in 1958 and was banned from building a second runway by a council planning constraint that expired in 2019.

Mr Wingate said: “While we are currently experiencing low passenger and air traffic volumes due to the global pandemic, we are confident that Gatwick will not only fully recover to previous passenger levels, but has the potential to continue to grow back into one of Europe’s premier airports.

“Our plans to bring our existing Northern Runway into routine use will not only help to secure that growth but will also ensure many thousands of additional jobs and a vital boost to the economy for our local region.

But opposition group, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions, condemned the plans, which they said were motivated by “greed”.

A spokesperson said: “This move can be for one reason only; shareholders seek to sell Gatwick with 2 runways.

“Whilst the children are off school and elected members holiday, Gatwick Airport choose a time when the skies are quiet to announce a public consultation that flies in the face of the climate emergency, we are all facing”

“It is despicable for a company to ignore the emissions that planes in and out of Gatwick produce that is causing grave danger for future generations that will have to pay the price for today’s greed of this leisure airport.”

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