Gatwick plans using emergency runway to increase flight capacity

21 October, 2018, 09:26 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Gatwick Airport sets out £500m runway upgrade plan

Canada's biggest pension fund is preparing to swoop for part of a stake in London's Gatwick Airport that could be worth more than £3bn - days after it unveiled a plan to use its emergency runway to boost capacity. The masterplan outlines how the new runway could be used alongside the main runway for departing flights by the mid 2020s.

Gatwick's emergency runway could be widened by 12 metres to comply with safety requirements for a 210-metre centreline gap from the main runway, and be used for an additional 10-15 short-haul flights an hour to take off.

The scheme would enable the UK's second busiest airport to accommodate up to 109,000 extra flights a year.

The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign said the plans could see more than 80,000 extra flights each year, with an increase in noise, air pollution and "excessive road traffic".

Three possible expansion plans are being put forward - including the conversion of the airport's existing emergency runway into full-time use - which bosses say could create 20,000 new jobs.

The Davies Report instead opted to recommend a third runway be built at Heathrow Airport.

The airport's new Masterplan [PDF] for the future says this move would see its passenger numbers grow from 45.7m this year to as many as 70m by 2033, all of which could be done nearly entirely using land within the airport's current footprint, so no trees would have to be cut down and no one's garden would be compulsory purchased.

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This would open just months before Heathrow's third runway is due to open. Gatwick said it believed it remained a credible means of providing longer-term growth for the United Kingdom, but it would not now pursue it while the government was backing Heathrow expansion, approved by parliament this summer.

Gatwick's chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: "As the United Kingdom heads towards an important new chapter, Gatwick's growing global connections are needed more than ever, but this must be achieved in the most sustainable way".

Sally Pavey, chairwoman of Cagne, said: "This is totally underhand, a stab in the heart for residents that thought they could get on with their lives after the runway debate was won by Heathrow Airport".

The plan also proposes the use of technology to increase the concentration of flights using the main runway.

"The local authorities, the people we elected, need to think hard before supporting Gatwick's plans as to agree to this, or the safeguarding of land for a second runway, would continue to ignore the environmental impacts locally and national that Gatwick creates".

"The local authorities pick up the bill for the now crumbling infrastructure whilst Gatwick continues to seek to clog further with 50m passengers off a single runway. This will help shape our plans for securing the region's prosperity".

"London's airports are set to be full in the next decade, so the CBI welcomes Gatwick's highly productive proposals to deliver increased capacity that complements expansion schemes at other airports".

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