Gatwick follows suit with their own runway plans!

We raised the idea last week… another runway but outside of London.  Now, 60 years after the thought was first put aside, Gatwick Airport’s new owners have submitted their proposals for a new runway to the Davies Commission...

60 years ago, a second runway at Gatwick was put aside, but the agreement not to build another runway expires in 2019, and expansion could be completed by 2025.  According to the chief executive of the airport, a new runway to the south of the existing one is a quieter, safe and cheaper option than a new runway at Heathrow.  Three options were presented to the Commission: a closed-space runway, a medium-spaced or a wide-spaced runway.  A closed-space runway would mean that you couldn’t use both runways at the same time, but potentially could double annual passenger numbers to 66 million.  The second option, a middle-spaced runway, would mean that one runway would be used for landings whilst the other is used for take-offs, potentially increasing capacity to 82 million – a big rise over Heathrow’s current capacity!  The third option, a wide-spaced runway, allows for ‘mixed-mode’ operations, i.e. both runways being used for landings and take-offs and leading to a maximum capacity of around 87 million passengers.

As part of the submission, the airport states that as far as safety is concerned, Gatwick is preferable to expansion in areas that are densely populated; a heavy reference to Heathrow’s runway expansion plans that would cut through highly populated areas of Greater London.  Gatwick’s proposals are also far cheaper that Heathrow’s – between £5bn and £9bn compared to £14bn to £18bn respectively!

Gatwick’s airports have suggested a ‘constellation of airports’ – a second runway at Stansted in the future.  However, Heathrow disagree… But as Heathrow campaign to raise passenger charges above the rate of inflation following a survey claiming that passengers would be prepared to pay more than to see a reduction in investment… a move that won’t prove popular amongst the general public?  Has Heathrow misjudged public feeling?  The Davies Commission has quite a decision on their hands!

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