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Gatwick “to develop options for a new runway”
Gatwick airport says it is to begin “detailed work on the options for a new runway”, claiming that it would have advantages over expansion at Heathrow and Stansted, or the building of an Estuary airport.
The airport says it will submit its findings to the Independent Commission on Aviation Connectivity, although it stresses it remains committed to the legal agreement with West Sussex County Council , preventing any new runway being built at Gatwick before 2019.
Gatwick says it will “look in detail at the implications of a new runway and will cover all issues which Gatwick anticipates will be relevant to the Commission and the eventual policy decision by the Government on airport expansion”, including “environmental, surface access and economic impacts”.
The airport claims the “additional capacity, flexibility and resilience that could be provided by a new runway at Gatwick would help to ensure that London’s airports provide the South East and the UK with the connectivity they need”.
Gatwick says it will also evaluate how its existing single runway capacity can be maximised “to contribute to the short-term capacity needs for London and the UK”.
Gatwick’s CEO Stewart Wingate said that there were “clear practical advantages of a new runway at Gatwick”.
“When compared with a third runway at Heathrow, we would have a significantly lower environmental impact whilst adding significantly more capacity,” said Wingate. “Stansted is half empty today, we already have much better surface transport links and feel our business case will be much stronger. As for the Estuary airport concepts, there are major questions on affordability, environmental issues and whether they are deliverable.”
Since Gatwick airport was taken over by Global Infrastucture Partners in 2009, around £650 million has been invested in the facility, including the extension of the North Terminal (see online news November 18, 2011), and revamped facilities at its South Terminal (see online news October 11, 2011).
For more information visit gatwickairport.com.
Report by Mark Caswell