A 12-week consultation on Gatwick’s expansion plans will start on the 9th September 2021 and prepare the way for a development consent order (DCO) application with the Planning Inspectorate.
The proposed plans would allow the airport’s Northern Runway – currently only used for emergencies and when the main runway is out of action for maintenance – to be brought into routine use for departing aircraft. This requires repositioning its centre line further north by 12 metres. Other elements of the proposals include improved airport access, highway improvements, as well as additional landscape/ecological planting and environmental mitigation.
The plan was in the works in 2019 but shelved one the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Although air passenger numbers still remain low, Gatwick said that it was reviving the scheme anyway “as we still expect to be capacity constrained in the time it would take to secure approvals, complete construction and start operations”.
The expansion would allow an increase in passenger capacity at the airport, which is majority owned by French construction group Vinci, to approximately 75 million passengers a year by 2038.
Chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “While we are currently experiencing low passenger and air traffic volumes due to the global pandemic, we are confident that Gatwick will not only fully recover to previous passenger levels, but has the potential to continue to grow back into one of Europe’s premier airports. Our plans to bring our existing Northern Runway into routine use will not only help to secure that growth but will also ensure many thousands of additional jobs and a vital boost to the economy for our local region.”