London Gatwick’s growth plans expected to boost region’s economy

Posted: 11 July 2023 | | 2 comments

By investing in its long-term future, London Gatwick plans to create around 14,000 new jobs and inject £1 billion into the region’s economy.

Gatwick jobs

London Gatwick submits planning application to bring its existing Northern Runway into routine use to improve resilience and increase capacity

London Gatwick submitted an application on 06 July 2023 – known as a Development Consent Order (DCO) – to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). In it, London Gatwick outlined its ambition to bring the airport’s existing Northern Runway into routine use alongside its Main Runway.

By investing in its long-term future, London Gatwick will also enhance the crucial economic role it plays by creating around 14,000 new jobs and injecting £1 billion into the region’s economy every year. This growth would come from increased tourism, trade, supply-chain, and other business opportunities.

This forward-looking and low impact plan aims to leverage the airport’s existing infrastructure to unlock new capacity and improve airport resilience, in line with government policy.

Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport said: “The Northern Runway plan will help secure the long-term future of the airport and economic prosperity for thousands of families, businesses, and future generations across the region. 

“If approved, our plan will also improve airport resilience, meet future passenger demand, and increase competition in the London airport market, by providing vital new international connections to support ‘Global Britain’. 

“The consultation and engagement activity over the past two years has been hugely valuable in shaping our plans to ensure they best meet the needs and requirements of local people, as well as our airlines, passengers and other stakeholders.  We are confident that our plans are both economically and environmentally robust.”

Support for airport’s growth plans

London Gatwick’s growth plans have significant support from residents across Sussex, Surrey, and Kent, according to a recent YouGov poll of over 3,000 people.  

Eight out of ten (78%) residents – who expressed an opinion – said they supported Gatwick’s Northern Runway plans, with two out of ten (22%) opposing. 

70% of residents also said they think the airport’s plans are important for the region’s economy, while 73% say they are important for job creation. Only 16% and 15% respectively said they were not important for either.

The breakdown of jobs includes:

  • Over 3,000 new jobs based on the airport
  • 2,000 new jobs within supply chains of airport businesses, such as aircraft part manufacturers or maintenance firms, located elsewhere
  • 1,300 additional jobs supported by these new employees spending their wages in local economy
  • 7,600 further jobs generated in businesses located in the region that benefit from the additional connectivity and economic activity the airport’s plans would deliver.

Legally binding environmental commitments

As part of the submission to PINS, London Gatwick has also made some legally binding commitments, to ensure it controls noise levels and reduces carbon emissions under the airport’s direct control.

A legally binding ‘noise envelope’ will commit to reducing noise over time. This commitment ensures that within 9 years of the Northern Runway opening the airport’s operations will generate less noise than in 2019, when the airport last operated at full capacity. The Northern Runway will not be used routinely – in conjunction with the main runway – between 2300 to 0600 each day.  An industry leading noise insulation scheme would also see the numbers of eligible homes increase from the current 2,000 to 4,300.

London Gatwick recently announced a £250 million investment to accelerate its plan to be net zero for its own Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 2030, 10 years earlier than previously planned and to commit to this as part of a Carbon Action Plan submitted with our application.

The Northern Runway Project

The Northern Runway is currently limited to acting as a taxiway, only available when the Main Runway is out of use. The submitted application proposes repositioning the centre line of the Northern Runway 12 metres north to allow dual runway operations, aligning with international safety standards. The Northern Runway would be used for departing flights only. 

Construction could start in 2025 and be completed and ready for operational use by the end of the decade. The proposals are low impact, with most construction taking place within the current airport boundary.

If approved the plans would help the airport meet future passenger demand by serving around 75 million passengers a year by the late 2030s.

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