London Gatwick Airport has published a new draft masterplan that outlines plans to use its standby runway for routine operations, to help unlock capacity at the airport.
Gatwick also intends to investigate new technologies to enhance the efficiency of its main runway and to take action to safeguard land for a potential second runway in future.
The draft masterplan was announced to the airport’s independent consultative committee GATCOM, which met on October 18, and considers how Gatwick could grow across three scenarios, looking ahead to the early 2030s:
Main runway – using new technology to increase capacity
In the near term, the airport has considered how deploying new technology could increase the capacity of the main runway, offering incremental growth through more efficient operations.
Standby runway – bringing existing standby runway into routine use
Under its current planning agreement, Gatwick’s existing standby runway is only used when the main runway is closed for maintenance or emergencies. However, the 40-year planning agreement will come to an end in 2019. The draft masterplan sets out for the first time how Gatwick could potentially bring its existing standby runway into routine use for departing flights, alongside its main runway, by the mid-2020s.
Additional runway – safeguarding for the future
While Gatwick is not currently actively pursuing the option of building a new runway to the south of the airport – as it did through the Airports Commission process – it is looking to safeguard this land for the future as part of its draft masterplan.
The airport has now entered into a 12-week public consultation phase to gather feedback and views on the draft masterplan, a final version of which is scheduled to be released early next year.
Stewart Wingate, CEO, London Gatwick, said, “As the UK heads toward an important new chapter, Gatwick’s growing global connections are needed more than ever but this must be achieved in the most sustainable way. From using new technologies on our main runway, to the innovative proposal to bring our existing standby runway into routine use, our draft masterplan offers agile, productive and low-impact ways of unlocking much-needed new capacity and increased resilience from within our existing infrastructure.”
Henry Smith, member of Parliament for Crawley, said, “Crawley’s prosperity depends on the success of Gatwick Airport and the publication of this new draft masterplan goes a long way to securing future growth in the town.
“I have always supported the airport growing within its existing boundaries and welcome their exciting new vision for incremental growth that will support more jobs and opportunity in Crawley.”