Controversy surrounding a second runway at Gatwick has been re-ignited today with the airport’s owners confirming detailed work on its viability has begun.
“I believe a new runway at Gatwick could be affordable, practical and give passengers a greater choice of routes to key markets,” says Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate.
Under his direction, a work programme is now looking in detail at the implications of a new runway, the findings of which will be submitted to the recently announced Independent Commission on Aviation Connectivity, chaired by Sir Howard Davies.
However, for those who have opposed Gatwick’s expansion for the last 50 years, the exercise is futile.
Brendon Sewill, the chair of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign is adamant ‘all the options for a new runway have been examined many times before and have always been found impracticable’.
The Airport has stressed that neither its work, nor its ambitions would contravene a 1979 agreement with West Sussex County Council forbidding any new runway prior to 2019.
Mr Wingate said: “Over the last three years we have transformed the airport, invested around £650 million and have a strong track record for delivering key routes to growth markets.
“However, we must now look to the future when Gatwick will become full and outline its long-term role in ensuring London has an efficient and resilient airport system that creates the crucial connectivity London and the UK needs.”
He added a new runway would allow Gatwick to compete and grow, and that they have both the capability and access to financial resources to make it happen.
The CEO of the world’s busiest single runway airport also said they have the space, a statement Mr Sewill fundamentally disagrees with.
“The line of the runway shown in the 2012 Master Plan for which land is at present safeguarded, is too close to the existing runway to allow a new terminal and space for aircraft to manoeuvre on the ground,” he said, adding: “ There is high ground at the western end and the main railway line at the eastern end, so the runway would have to be short.”
For the full story see tomorrow’s West Sussex County Times.