Gatwick unveils "constellation" airport plan costing just £9bn and ready by 2025

Gatwick airport has unveiled its plans for a second runway for its final submission to the Davies Commission, which is looking at prospects for expanding UK air capacity.

The airport said the runway would be located south of the existing airport, would cost between £5bn and £9bn, and could be open by 2025.

It put forward three options for the second runway:

  • Option 1: Space the runways less than 760m apart using one for arrivals and one for departures. It would only be possible to use one at a time. Capacity: 60-66m by 2050.
  • Option 2: Space the runways more than 760m apart with arrivals on one and departures on the other. Both could be used simultaneously. Capacity: Up to 82m by 2050.
  • Option 3: Space the two runways more than 1,035m apart, so each can accommodate arriving and departing aircraft at the same time. Capacity: Up to 87m by 2050.

Chief executive Stewart Wingate said:

A two-runway Gatwick, as part of a constellation of three major airports surrounding London, will also provide flexibility in an industry where the only constant is change.

He pointed at other cities like New York, Tokyo, Paris and Moscow that also had a “constellation” system with a number of hubs, and added that this option would be safer, quieter and cheaper than the alternatives.

Other options being explored include a third runway at Heathrow (costing £14bn and ready by 2025 at the earliest), expanding Stansted (costing £10bn) and a new hub airport on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary (costing at least £50bn and ready by 2029).