Thursday 18 July 2019 6:11 pm

Gatwick to use standby runway to increase passenger capacity

Gatwick airport has jettisoned plans to build an extra runway, instead opting to bring the standby runway into “routine use” by 2020.

The airport said it is readying a planning application to use the second runway alongside the main tarmac. This would increase capacity at the airport so as to serve around 70m passengers by the early 2030s, it said.

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Gatwick this afternoon published its final so-called master plan. It published the plan alongside a report on a 12-week public consultation, which finished earlier in the year. It showed strong support for “making best use of its existing runways”. This would help it “meet demand in the most sustainable way over the next 15 years,” it said.

London Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: “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.”

Gatwick hopes to use its standby runway rather than building an extra one (Gatwick)

‘Critical’ to meeting passenger demand

The plan involves scrapping the idea to build an extra runway, which would have served up to 92m passengers.

Gatwick is the second-largest airport in Britain.

It will go back to the public for another consultation once it has submitted planning application for the standby runway.

Business group London First said building extra capacity at the airport is “a critical part of meeting passenger demand”.

London First director of Connectivity, Transport and Infrastructure David Lutton said: “Without further capacity at UK airports, increased passenger demand for improved long-haul and domestic connectivity will simply not be met.

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“Creating additional capacity at Gatwick by making the best use of its existing infrastructure is a critical part of meeting that need.

“Expanding aviation capacity is an economic necessity, but it can only happen sustainably if greater numbers of passengers arrive at airports via public transport.”