London-Gatwick considers use ​of its existing standby runway

London-Gatwick Photo by Gatwick Airport

Gatwick sets out ambitious future growth plan, including routine use of its existing standby runway.

Gatwick Airport yesterday has set out an ambitious vision for the future with the publication of its draft master plan, which looks at how the airport might grow in the longer term.

The draft master plan 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. Gatwick has successfully utilised its runway to unlock growth in recent years and remains the world’s most efficient single runway. The use of the latest technology could provide more opportunities for the future.

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 master plan 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.

This innovative development, which would meet all international safety requirements, would be delivered without increasing the airport’s noise footprint and provide greater operational resilience. While in the early stages of exploration, Gatwick is confident the project would remain within the existing airport footprint and existing framework for airport charges. Should the airport decide to further progress the use of the existing standby runway, it would submit a detailed planning proposal and follow a Development Consent Order (DCO) process, which would include a full public consultation.

Additional runway safeguarding for the future

While Gatwick is not currently actively pursuing the option of building a brand new runway to the south of the airport – as it did through the Airports Commission process – Gatwick believes it is in the national interest to continue to safeguard this land for the future as part of its draft master plan.

The airport is now keen to encourage responses to a 12-week public consultation it has launched yesterday to gather feedback and views on the draft master plan. All responses will be reviewed before a final version of the master plan is agreed early next year.

— Gatwick Airport