Gatwick Airport move to increase capacity 'underhand'

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 21, 2018

A 40-year-old planning agreement with West Sussex County Council stating the standby runway can only be used in an emergency or when the main one is closed for maintenance expires next year.

The draft masterplan suggests using the standby track into routine use for departing flights by the mid 2020s.

The plan would see the existing standby runway moved 12m north to take it further away from the main runway.

The plans are expected to add more than 80,000 extra planes a year to the skies above the homes of Sussex, Surrey and Kent, equating to about 231 a day.

The second involves adapting the stand-by runway for routine flight use, and the third involves building a second runway.

A bid to build a new second runway was rejected by the UK Government in favour of Heathrow expansion in December 2016.

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.

The airport fought a hotly contested battle with two competing Heathrow schemes to secure an additional runway, but lost out to its larger ‎rival.

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".

Opponents of Gatwick expansion claim the proposal would increase the problems of noise, air pollution and road congestion already suffered by surrounding communities.

The centre lines of Gatwick's main and emergency runways are separated by 198 metres.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick's chief executive, 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".

The plan to bring the runway into routine use for short haul flights has been set out in Gatwick Airport's new masterplan setting out new growth plans.

"Gatwick is responsible for the 360 decline due to the pressure this airport puts on the infrastructure and lack of local amenities, we do not need the added concern of safety of planes in and out of Gatwick during the peak "bucket and spade" season when all airports in London area at busy".

He said the airport had experienced a lot of success in bringing in new longhaul routes and the masterplan proposals would enable more to be created.

Gatwick said that it is still in the early stages of exploring "the innovative development" - which would require full public consultation - but says that it would be delivered "without increasing the airport's noise footprint and provide greater operational resilience".

"We would encourage as many people as possible to take part in our consultation process". The cost of this would be half a billion pounds, however the airport has said it could create around 20,000 new jobs.

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