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17 - Oct - 2018

Gatwick Airport Accused of Using ‘the Back Door’ in Proposal to Use Emergency Runway


Gatwick Airport is seeking permission to increase its runway capacity by putting an emergency runway into regular use. The airport has been accused of creating a second runway “by the back door”.

The latest draft plans to use the emergency runway will be released on Thursday and will go out for public consultation.

The airport’s capacity will increase to more than 80,000 extra flights or by 30% if the plans are approved.

Gatwick is the second busiest airport in UK and the busiest single-runway airport in the world in terms of flight movements. The airport lost out to Heathrow after the government’s Airport Commission chose to build the next South-east England, full runway in Heathrow.

A Gatwick airport spokesperson said: “Airports are required to publish new master plans every five years, setting out their future growth plans and Gatwick has consistently confirmed it will do so before the end of this year. The draft plan will set out for our local communities, partners, airlines and stakeholders three possible growth scenarios, which we will then open up for views and feedback.

“In line with recent government policy, Gatwick has previously set out it is exploring how to make best use of its existing runways, including the possibility of bringing its existing standby runway into routine use.”

Campaign group Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions said: “This is simply betrayal of communities of Sussex, Surrey and Kent who have already endured the increases in long haul movements this year by 24.1%.

“This is a second runway by the back door, how can communities ever trust Gatwick management again?”

Peter Barclay, chairman of Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, said: "We want to know what mitigation they propose to put in to counter the expected growth that this will produce because the impact in noise terms will probably be quite significant for those communities particularly to the north of the airport."

A legal 40-year agreement forbidding the airport from using both runways simultaneously expires next year.

Jeff Alexander, chief executive of Gatwick Diamond Business said, the airport “is a key driver of not only the regional but the national economy”.

“Goods and trade through the airport amounts to some £2.7bn, and overseas visitors through Gatwick contribute about £4.7bn annually, so it is a massive economic asset.” The BBC reported.

By Airport Pickups London