Skip down to main content.
23 July 2013
London Gatwick has submitted to the Airports Commission a proposal for a second runway – positioned to the south of the current site. Gatwick has provided a robust and compelling case outlining why the next runway should be built at the London airport and believes it is the most affordable, sustainable and deliverable solution for London and for the UK.
Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick Chief Executive, said: “London is the best connected city in the world today because the UK's aviation industry is one of the most competitive and innovative. Our proposal to the Airports Commission builds on this foundation and would ensure that the UK has an airports policy which offers the additional capacity that Britain needs, improves the resilience of the airports system and, above all, can be delivered.
“Our evidence shows clearly that an additional runway at Gatwick would best serve the needs of all passengers, and give certainty to airlines, communities and businesses. It would deliver the connectivity the UK needs with lower environmental impacts, whilst spreading the economic benefits.
“A two-runway Gatwick, as part of a constellation of three major airports surrounding London, will also provide flexibility in an industry where the only constant is change.”
Our proposal builds on the strengths on the existing network of airports, which serve the widespread and densely populated London and South East market. It is the best solution for London and the UK on the grounds that it:
Offers certainty: A second runway at Gatwick is the best and most deliverable solution. It can be privately financed and would not require substantial government subsidy - as Heathrow or an Estuary airport would.
Has significantly less environmental and community obstacles: The overall number of people affected by noise with a second runway at Gatwick will still be equivalent to only 5% of the people that Heathrow impacts today. Studies show that the number of people impacted by noise at Gatwick would range from 3,300 – comparable to today with a single runway – up to 11,800.
Furthermore, our evidence shows that we can keep within the European and national air quality standard limits with an additional runway. Heathrow today breaches these limits.
Provides the best strategic fit for London and the UK: The position of London today, as the best connected World City with the largest aviation market in the world, is not the result of an outstanding ‘hub’ airport. Rather, it is the result of consistent government policy to liberalise the airline market and stimulate competition amongst airlines and airports. Other World Cities, including New York, Tokyo, Paris and Moscow, also operate a multi-airport or ‘constellation’ system, and handle greater numbers of passengers than cities relying on a single ‘hub’.
The Gatwick proposal is well aligned with the way passengers want to travel today and how they will want to travel in the future - with 87% of passengers starting or ending their journeys in London. Moreover, the Gatwick proposal is best aligned with key future trends - including continued market share gains by Low Cost Carriers, the spread of new technology hub-busting aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, and the rapid rise of new hubs in the Middle East and Far East. It is most likely that such trends will continue to reduce the relative importance of traditional transfer traffic through London, and will confirm that a single dominant hub is not the best solution for the UK's future needs.
Delivers for passengers: Passengers want choice when booking their flights, based on price, location, convenience and route. A second runway at Gatwick, as part of a ‘constellation’ of airports around London, would provide more convenient access for passengers than concentrating all long-haul flights at one hub.
Our evidence also shows that fares at a single dominant hub airport can be significantly higher than in a city which has a number of competing airports. Airfares are already lower in general at Gatwick than at Heathrow to the same destinations, clearly demonstrating the value to passengers of competition.
Delivers better connectivity: Expansion at Gatwick would deliver the additional capacity and connectivity which the UK and London need until the 2040s. A second runway at Gatwick would provide a similar level of connectivity overall as would a third runway at Heathrow, but with additional benefits to passengers, to London and to the economy. A second runway at Gatwick would be built for less, would increase competition and would lead to lower fares which in turn would stimulate economic growth.
Maintains connectivity of the regions, London and the South East: Gatwick is currently the best connected London airport to the UK regions. We believe that any expansion of Gatwick – given our vibrant short-haul market – would help to maintain connectivity between the regions, London and the South East.
Builds on strong local support: Gatwick has made a commitment to engage fully and openly with its local community and has already gained support in principle from West Sussex County Council, Kent County Council, the Gatwick Diamond Business, Gatwick Diamond Initiative, Coast to Capital LEP and Sussex Enterprise.
Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “The county council has voted to support expansion of Gatwick, in principle, because of the huge potential economic benefits for West Sussex. However, we want to work with Gatwick, residents and partners to ensure that any development will take into account the environmental concerns that people rightly have, and include all of the essential infrastructure that a development of this scale would require. We are pleased that Gatwick has agreed to work with us on these issues.”
Paul Gresham, Chair of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative said: “The £19.2bn Gatwick Diamond economy has developed over fifty years as a result of the location of London Gatwick Airport. International businesses have already chosen the Gatwick Diamond to locate their UK and European headquarters and many more will be attracted as Gatwick grows its routes with a second runway proposal.
“Thousands of new knowledge sector jobs will be created; transport, housing and town infrastructure developed and UK Plc will be benefit. Businesses are telling us that they want, and support a second runway and that Gatwick Diamond Initiative is delighted to support Gatwick’s submission to the Airports Commission.”
To view Gatwick’s full submission click here.
For more information about Gatwick’s vision go to: http://bettersolution.gatwickairport.com
Second runway options
London Gatwick has identified three main options for how a southern parallel runway could be configured and operated.
Option 1: Dependent Segregated Mode: Close-spaced runways (with a separation less than 760m) are too close to operate independently to each other. The runways would have to be used dependently i.e. with operations on one runway temporarily interrupting the operations on the other. One runway would be used for aircraft arrivals and one for departures (a method of operation called ‘segregated mode’). This method of operation could support around 67-70 movements per hour, which could equate to an overall two runway capacity of some 60-66 million passengers per year by 2050.
Option 2: Independent Segregated Mode: If the runways are positioned 760m or more apart the runways can be operated independently of each other. This means that arrivals on one runway do not affect departures on the other. Capacity could increase to around 75 movements per hour equating to some 75-82 million passengers per year by 2050.
Option 3: Independent Mixed Mode: If the runways are at least 1,035m apart, then it can be possible to operate them in‘independent mixed mode’. Each runway could accommodate both arriving and departing aircraft. In this way flexibility and capacity would be maximised. Capacity could amount to between 95 and 100 movements per hour or more and would equate to some 80-87 million passengers per year by 2050.To view all three options laid out on a map please click here
Second runway capacity, benefits and impacts
Each option is positioned to the south of the airport and west of the railway line. Each option will broadly fit within the land already set aside for runway expansion.
At this stage, Gatwick does not have a preferred runway configuration option. But each option offers capacity and benefits:
Cost: Costs, including Gatwick’s contribution towards improving local transport infrastructure, are in the range £5bn to £9bn – significantly more affordable than Heathrow’s £14-18bn and the Mayor’s £50-80bn. Both Heathrow and the Mayor are seeking substantial public subsidy, whereas Gatwick expects to finance expansion privately.
Opening date: None of the Gatwick options present significant project complexity or risk, and all could be open to passengers by 2025.
Passenger capacity: Gatwick’s second runway options will increase the airport’s passenger capacity from an annual 34.2 million today to between 67 and 87 million by the 2040s.
Noise: Using the CAAs standard noise measurement models, we estimate that the number of residents living within the 57dBA Leq noise contour with a two-runway Gatwick would range from 3,300 (comparable to today with a single runway) up to 11,800. The overall number of people affected by noise with a second runway at Gatwick will still be equivalent to only 5% of the people that Heathrow impacts today.
Environment: Today, Gatwick does not breach the European and national air quality standards. Heathrow breaches these limits. Our evidence shows we can keep within these limits with an additional runway to the south of the current runway, and that no nationally or internationally designated habitats would be directly affected.
Residential properties affected: the land required for the construction of a second runway has been formally safeguarded since 2003. It is estimated that the potential number of properties lost for the runway options range between 50 and 100 homes at Gatwick, as against 950 - 2,700 at Heathrow.
Surface access: Road and rail access requirements are significantly less than the needs of Heathrow or an Estuary option, and an expanded Gatwick will also benefit from major improvements, such as Thameslink, already planned by DfT, Network Rail and the Highway Agency.
The Economy: An additional runway will bring potential investment benefits to Britain of around £56bn over the period to 2050, would create up to 19,000 new jobs and support wider economic and social regeneration. Furthermore, it would support an additional 4.5 million annual tourist visits – equivalent to £3bn of tourist spending over the period to 2025 and 2050.
Air Europa, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Vietnam Airlines confirm they are, in principle, supportive of London Gatwick’s expansion plans
About Gatwick Diamond Initiative
The Gatwick Diamond Initiative is a business-led economic partnership. Working strategically, we partner with business leaders, business membership organisations, colleges and universities, local authorities and government agencies to address the needs of the area to ensure it is a world-class place to live, work and do business.
The Gatwick Diamond Initiative lobbies on issues that prevent businesses in the area from growing; we encourage international trade; we promote the area’s strengths; we attract and help UK and foreign inward investors looking to locate in the area; we campaign on issues that businesses deem to be barriers to growth; and we work with the education sector to provide a relevant Higher and Further Education offer that meets business needs. The Gatwick Diamond Initiative is also a key partner in the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.About Gatwick Diamond Business
Established for over 50 years, Gatwick Diamond Business has been the leading voice for business and commerce in the region. Representing business, it provides a united voice to influence local and central government issues. Gatwick Diamond Business is run by the members for the members. It is also financially and politically independent.
About Coast to Capital LEP
Coast to Capital LEP is one of 39 partnerships established across the UK by Government to determine regional economic priorities, while making investments and delivering activities to drive growth and job creation. Our area includes Brighton and Hove, Croydon, Gatwick Diamond, East Surrey, Lewes and West Sussex. As a significant partnership between regional, political and business leadership, our role is to help re-balance the economy and to promote private sector growth. We take a strategic lead in ensuring that the infrastructure and conditions for economic growth are in place across our diverse region, which includes both urban and rural areas.
Our focus is on those areas where we can stimulate growth and add the most value, working with the private and public sectors. However, our ambitions are global. Through our strong pursuit of trade opportunities, we want to retain our best talent and attract more of the world’s best minds to come here. Coast to Capital is led by the business community and supported by our region's local authorities, businesses and academic institutions. In partnership, we are collaborating to secure a more prosperous and sustainable future for all.
The 1979 agreement with West Sussex County Council
The 1979 agreement was a legal agreement dated 13th August 1979 between West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and Gatwick Airport’s former owners, The British Airports Authority (BAA). BAA gave WSCC a binding undertaking that it, or any of its successors, would not construct a second runway for a period of 40 years.
London Gatwick remains committed to the 1979 legal agreement with West Sussex County Council. That agreement prohibits Gatwick from constructing a new runway before 2019. However, given the probable timescales for government decision-making and planning approvals, construction could not now start before 2019.
t: + 44 (0) 1293 505000
About Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the busiest single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 200 destinations in 90 countries for around 35 million passengers a year on short and long-haul services. It is also a major economic driver for the South-East region, generating around 23,000 on-airport jobs and a further 13,000 jobs through related activities. The airport is 28 miles south of London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.
Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatwick_Airport
© Gatwick Airport Limited
Media Centre by Glide Newsroom