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London’s Gatwick Airport Expects Second Runway

EasyJet’s operations at London Gatwick Airport (Photo: Tim Anderson)

After five years of planning its expansion, London’s Gatwick Airport is forecast to submit the application for its project soon, looking forward to starting the expansion in 2025.

The second busiest airport in England reached its capacities before the pandemic. In 2018, Gatwick announced its current northern runway, used only for emergencies, could become the airport’s regular runway by adding 12 meters to match the standard of a runway. The Northern Runway would be used for smaller departing aircraft in the future.

Gatwick said that the expansion is a sustainable approach which maximize the use of its existing infrastructure. The second runway could add up to 15 additional aircraft per hour. Gatwick expands its infrastructure with the aim of reaching 75 million passengers a year by 2038, compared to 46 million in 2019. The airport believes the expansion is a low-impact way to unlock new capacity.

The Gatwick Airport Layout
(Photo: Lido Flight Charts)

“It’s a huge step for the airport and a huge step for the local area, particularly bearing in mind what we’ve been through during Covid,” Andy Sinclair, the airport’s Head of Airspace strategy, said.

Earlier, the airport estimated around 630 new jobs will be created if the new runway is given the green light by the government.

Gatwick said that regular use of the Northern Runway could reduce delays, improve resilience, and boost the economy nationwide. According to Civil Aviation Authority, U.K is experiencing a remarkable rebound, as Gatwick handled 3.2 million passengers in the month of April, which was 85% of the same time in 2019.

Looking Forward To The Green Light

But the second runway is not for everyone. The local residents and the environmental activities are going to challenge the expansion.

“We’re prepared to go to the courts. You’ve got people that live under flight paths that live 15 miles away,” Peter Barclay, the spokesman of Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, said.

The environment commitments could put a strain on Gatwick. Earlier, the Climate Change Committee, the government’s climate adviser, said there could be no more airport expansion, in response to its net zero goals.

In the meantime, the airport will spend £10 million modernizing the North Terminal. This is the first major overhaul of the departure lounge since 1988 and is expected to be completed in early 2024. The North Terminal ceased flight operation for weeks during the pandemic.

The new runway could be the holy grail of the airport. Gatwick is not the only airport demanding a new runway. Heathrow Airport, the busiest airport in the U.K., fell short of building its proposed third runway in 2020, as a court ruled that the expansion was unlawful as it didn’t take climate commitments into account. Last week, Heathrow named Thomas Woldbye as its new CEO. It is believed the third runway is one of Woldbye’s formidable tasks, especially as the court blockage of the third runway was eventually overturned.

Pete Ainsley


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