Gatwick Airport is preparing a planning application to remodel its emergency runway so that it can be used on a regular basis.
If granted, the alterations to the standby runway will be completed and fully operational by 2026. At the same time the airport’s north and south terminals will be extended and three new hotels will be built. Two of the hotels will have up to 400 rooms.
Currently 46 million travellers use the airport (according to a 2018 report). The results of the improvement are likely to increase Gatwick’s capacity to 74 million passengers each year by 2038.
What are the proposed changes to Gatwick’s emergency runway?
If the plans are approved, both runways would be extended. The existing runway would be used for arrivals, while departing aircraft would use both.
Gatwick said its master plan is in line with the Government’s policy of making the best use of existing runways.
Why does Gatwick airport want to do this?
Unlocking extra capacity will help Gatwick continue to provide good operational performance for passengers and airlines. They say that it will impact economic growth as new investment will deliver more global connections, new opportunities for the local economy, and jobs for generations to come.
London Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said:
“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. 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.
“Gatwick’s global connections are needed more than ever but as we take our plans forward, we must do so in the most sustainable and responsible way and in full partnership with our local councils, communities, passengers and partners.”
Why hasn’t this happened sooner?
There has been a planning restriction in place which prevented Gatwick’s northern airstrip from being used at the same time as the main runway. This restriction expired in August this year.
When is Gatwick’s extended runway plan likely to happen?
According to the report construction work would most likely start in 2021, and the altered northern runway fully operational by 2026.