Gatwick gets overwhelming support for use of standby runway
Two-thirds of respondents to public consultation support Gatwick’s intention to build capacity by making best use of existing runways. Consequently the airport is no longer actively pursuing plans for an additional runway.
Gatwick has published its final master plan and a report on its 12-week public consultation, which concluded earlier in 2019.
This consultation showed strong support for airport development with two thirds of respondents saying they support Gatwick ‘making best use of its existing runways’ in line with government policy.
The final master plan sets out how Gatwick could develop to meet demand in the most sustainable way over the next 15 years. Additional capacity would also deliver enhanced operational performance and further improve the experience for passengers, with continued competition ensuring excellent choice and service for the long term.
The final master plan includes:
- Using new technology to build capacity and resilience on the main runway
- Bringing the existing standby runway into routine use for departures only alongside the main runway by the mid 2020s
- Recommending planning policy continues to safeguard land for an additional runway.
Taking into account consultation feedback, Gatwick will continue to make best use of its main runway. The airport also announced it will prepare a planning application to bring the standby runway into routine use. This will be through a Development Consent Order (DCO) – a rigorous statutory planning process that will include public consultation next year to allow local authorities, communities, businesses and partners the opportunity to provide more feedback as the scheme evolves.
Additionally, Gatwick recommends that national and local planning policy continues to safeguard land – as it has been since 2003 – should a new runway be required in the longer term. The airport is no longer actively pursuing plans for an additional runway.
Taking forward the innovative plan to use the standby runway will deliver additional capacity. In developing the scheme, the airport will bring forward plans that balance:
- Operational resilience – unlocking extra capacity will help Gatwick continue to provide good operational performance for passengers and airlines. This will also add further resilience to the wider system of London airports.
- Sustainable growth – building on Gatwick’s strong track record, work will be carried out to ensure environmental impacts are appropriately managed and mitigated, and incremental growth is delivered in a sustainable way.
In addition, the scheme would aim to deliver:
- Enhanced competition – building on the positive impact that competition has made to the passenger experience, additional capacity will provide further opportunities for airline innovation and passenger choice
- Economic growth – investment will deliver more global connections, new opportunities for the local economy, and jobs for generations to come
- Similar noise footprint – the extra capacity will be balanced by the airport’s noise footprint remaining broadly similar to today’s levels. This is mainly because of the introduction of new, quieter aircraft technology which have already made a significant difference.
- Minimal disruption – the standby runway plans will be a privately financed, low-impact and low-cost development resulting in a highly productive scheme. No compulsory purchase of residential properties would be required.
London Gatwick’s CEO, Stewart Wingate, said: “We are grateful to the thousands of people that responded to our draft master plan consultation and whose views will continue to help shape our plans. We are encouraged that public consultation has shown strong support for Gatwick and the local area’s ambitions.
“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.”