Gatwick could use emergency runway to allow more flights

What the garden looked like before
Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second busiest with 45 million annual passengers

The West Sussex airport’s management is set to announce their latest growth masterplan on tomorrow [October 18] which includes a proposal to use their emergency runway for departing smaller aircraft.

This follows the decision of the Department for Transport to back a proposal to build a third runway at Heathrow, rather than a second at Gatwick.

Areas in and around Tunbridge Wells are in the airport’s flightpath. It is thought the move could lead to an increase in flights of up to 30 per cent.

A spokesman for pressure group Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions [CAGNE] said: “This is a second runway by the backdoor, how can communities ever trust Gatwick management again?”

“This is simply betrayal of communities of Sussex, Surrey and Kent who have already endured the increases in long-haul movements this year by 24.1 per cent.

“We could see planes touching wings and planes having to cross runways to reach the piers, which are all safety concerns.” 

CAGNE’s chairman Sally Pavey previously said Gatwick has been held back because its station and connecting M23 have limited options for expansion.

The growth plan will go to a public consultation.

A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: “Airports are required to publish new master plans every five years, setting out their future growth plans and Gatwick has consistently confirmed it will do so before the end of this year.

“The draft plan will set out for our local communities, partners, airlines and stakeholders three possible growth scenarios, which we will then open up for views and feedback.

“In line with recent government policy, Gatwick has previously set out it is exploring how to make best use of its existing runways, including the possibility of bringing its existing standby runway into routine use.

“This would deliver an incremental increase in capacity that complements the expansion schemes of other airports across the South East.

“Safety and security are always our key priorities and any new development would be fully compliant with all international safety requirements.”

To see the consultation, visit

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