New designs show how Gatwick will be the world’s most efficient two-runway airport


  • Sir Terry Farrell’s new designs show Gatwick as the airport of the future 
  • The design puts passengers first as queuing will be eliminated 
  • New advertisements focus on Gatwick’s deliverability as opposed to Heathrow

An expanded Gatwick would be the world’s most efficient two-runway airport - flexible and responsive to meet the changing needs of passengers and airlines - as new images and an animation produced by Sir Terry Farrell released today show.

The airport will operate to reflect changing trends in passenger travel and the plans demonstrate how queues will be eliminated, passenger transit through the airport will be sped up, and aircraft turn-around will match the quickest in the world.

The design has been revealed as momentum continues to build behind Gatwick’s case for a second runway. New advertisements to be published this week highlight that Gatwick’s plan is comparatively simple and low risk and can be delivered in just ten years, by 2025. In comparison, the obstacles facing Heathrow cast doubt on whether a third runway there could realistically ever be built.

World class improvements and services at Gatwick will include:

  • self-service bag drops and electronic security gates that will eliminate queues 
  • passengers will reach boarding gates just 30 minutes after arriving at the airport
  • Gatwick will match the world’s quickest aircraft turnaround times 
  • exceptionally short taxiing times reducing operating costs and engine emissions
  • push back to take off will be just seven minutes (compared to 45 minutes at a more complex and sprawling three runway Heathrow)
  • passengers will connect with flights leaving from different terminals in just 45 minutes, compared to 105 at Heathrow
  • connection times from the same terminal at Gatwick will be just 30 minutes  

These planned improvements have been designed to meet the future needs of passengers, but even today Gatwick is responding to emerging trends. 

The Gatwick Connect service is already in operation and allows passengers to travel on a combination of independently operated flights and transfer through Gatwick without having to transport their bags through the airport or check-in twice.

The service is a response to the increasing number of passengers who are bypassing traditional ways of flying by booking connecting flights themselves – often to save money.  This is in contrast to the airline booking the connecting flight for them, either with the same airline or with one of their airline partners.

Increasingly passengers are exploiting the range of new flight options available and are ‘self-connecting’ between a mix of low cost short and medium haul, charter and long haul flights depending on their budget and needs. Unlike Heathrow, Gatwick Airport caters for all these types of flight and not just full service legacy carriers.

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said:

“An expanded Gatwick can be delivered quickly and at no additional cost to the taxpayer so the UK can reap the economic benefits of expansion sooner. The way we travel is changing fast and we have to change with it – only Gatwick can cater for all passengers, travelling to any destination, with any airline type, now and into the future.

“Our plan recognises that traditional methods of transferring are in decline with many passengers exploiting new options to ‘self-connect’ between a mix of low cost short and medium haul, charter and long haul flights depending on their budget and needs. 

“Gatwick Connect – our ground-breaking service – is an example of us already responding to changing passenger behaviour and the needs of passengers will remain central to our plan to expand.”

Discussing his design for the Gatwick of the future, Sir Terry Farrell said:

"Farrell’s has designed what Skytrax has twice voted the best airport in world, and has been involved in many more, but we’ve raised the bar yet higher with our elegant masterplan to make Gatwick the world’s most efficient two runway airport.

"Queues have literally been designed out and the new terminal will be simple and convenient to use with few changes of level.

"The airfield itself would also offer the shortest taxiing distances possible with the new apron sitting between, and in close-proximity to, both the existing and new runways."

Notes to Editors: 

The animation of how an expanded Gatwick will look can be accessed here and new images are available on request from the Gatwick press office.

Airfield efficiency: The aprons have also been designed to meet the needs of all airline types. Whether low-cost or full-service, short-haul or long-haul, the aprons have the flexibility to provide exactly the infrastructure needed to ensure the rapid turnaround of aircraft.  For example gates will be provided for the largest long-haul aircraft such as the A380, with multiple boarding bridges and spacious gate-rooms.

Both runways will also operate in mixed mode, which means both will have arriving and departing flights. This gives complete flexibility to adjust the operation to deal with peaks in demand or to recover from disruption events.  The proposals for Heathrow feature only one mixed-mode runway. The other two would be dedicated to either arrivals or departures – a more rigid arrangement that is less resilient to disruption caused by strong winds or fog, for example.

About Sir Terry Farrell CBE:

Sir Terry Farrell CBE is considered to be the UK’s leading architect planner, with offices in London and Hong Kong. During 40 years in practice he has completed many award winning buildings and Masterplans including Embankment Place and The Home Office Headquarters as well as millennium projects such as The Deep in Hull and Centre for Life in Newcastle. UK Masterplans include Greenwich Peninsula, Paddington Basin and Newcastle Quayside.

In East Asia, notable projects include Incheon airport in Seoul, Beijing Station and Guangzhou Station in China (the largest in the world). In Hong Kong he has designed the Peak Tower, Kowloon Station development and the British Consulate. Throughout his career, he has championed urban planning and helped shape government policy on key issues. As recognition of this, in 2013 he was voted the individual who made the Greatest Contribution to London’s Planning and Development over the last 10 years. In London, he is the Mayor’s Design Advisor and advises the Department for Transport on high speed rail. He is Design Champion for the Thames Gateway, Europe’s largest regeneration project and masterplanner for the transformation of Holborn and Earls Court.

About Farrells:

Farrells are considered to be the UKs leading architect planners with offices in London, Hong Kong and Shanghai. For forty years the practice has shaped the debate on urban design and believes passionately in the creation of the civic realm and the vital spaces in between buildings.

In the UK, building schemes include MI6, Embankment Place, the new Home Office HQ and the Deep Aquarium in Hull. Large scale infrastructure planning and buildings dominate their work in East Asia including Incheon Airport in Korea, Beijing and Guangzhou High Speed rail stations in China and the tallest building ever by a British architect in Shenzhen.

Completed masterplans include Newcastle Quayside, Brindley Place in Birmingham and West Kowloon in Hong Kong. Current projects in London include Earls Court, the Embassy Quarter in Nine Elms, Convoys Wharf and Mid Town in Holborn.

Many of Farrells’ projects have won international design awards and the company’s architectural and urban design work is featured in publications worldwide.

About London Gatwick

Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the most efficient single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 228 destinations in 74 countries for 45 million passengers a year on short and long-haul point-to-point services. It is also a major economic driver for the UK contributing £5.3 billion to national GDP and generating 85,000 jobs nationally, with around 24,000 on the wider airport campus alone. The airport is south of Central London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express, and is part of the Oyster contactless payment network. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.

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