Gatwick Airport has announced that it to carry out detailed work on options for a new runway for submission to the independent aviation commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies.
It is a change of stance from the airport’s owner, which, as recently as July, ruled out plans for a second runway until 2030 at the earliest (NCE 26 July).
The airport is owned by a consortium led by Global Investment Partners. Its July masterplan, which outlines development plans to 2020, ruled out the need for additional runway capacity until 2030.
By then it expects to reach full capacity with around 45M passengers a year choosing to pass through the airport.
But this week it said it was now looking in detail at “all issues” that it considers “relevant” to the commission and the eventual policy decision by government on airport expansion.
“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 need,” said Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate.
“I believe a new runway at Gatwick could be affordable, practical and give passengers a greater choice of routes to key markets,” he said.
“We have the space, capability and access to financial resources,” he added.
The work will be consistent with Gatwick’s 1979 legal agreement with West Sussex County Council which prohibits it from constructing a new runway before 2019. Its submission will consider how to maximise use of its one runway until then.
Gatwick is the busiest single-runway airport in the world.