Gatwick Airport’s new development chief has pledged to get contractors involved in the airport’s £7.8bn expansion plan as soon as it gets the green light from government.
Raymond Melee, who has previously worked at Luton, Gatwick, Mumbai and Singapore Changi airports among others, has now been appointed as director of development at Gatwick.
The Sussex airport is up against Heathrow for permission from the government to build an extra runway. The Airports Commission is due to make a recommendation this summer on which one is best placed to solve the capacity crisis in the South East.
Gatwick today released an animation showing how it would phase construction work over 20 years from 2020 if given permissions in time.
Melee told NCE: “Part of our plan is to get contractors involved early to help us plan the detail of the most efficient way of delivering the work.
“We will see contractors, architects and engineers involved as soon as we get the green light.”
Procurement will be open and designed to get a broad range of companies involved, Melee said.
“We are still investigating how to procure. We like to spread the wealth and allow as many firms to work at Gatwick as possible.
“We have no preconceived ideas about who we want – it is an open field.”
He added: “We have a wide range of development work, not all of it £100M or more, there will be smaller packages.”
Melee insisted he was confident that Gatwick would win the battle for permission to grow. It is up against two separate proposals to expand Heathrow.
But Melee said: “I am confident Gatwick will be awarded the expansion.
“If you look at our proposal, we believe it is superior in every category – cost; deliverability; time; environmental impact..
“However you want to choose between the options, we are confident.
“I am not making plans for any other eventuality. I am that confident.”
Melee said the chance to work on the expansion programme was too tempting to turn down.
“I am very excited about building a landmark extension to Gatwick,” he said.
“We are talking about £7.8bn of construction works, which attracts a lot of attention, but the scheme is very deliverable. Most of the property is safeguarded and in terms of construction not over complicated.
“We are confident we can deliver on or below budget and be open by 2025.”
Melee, a qualified architect, wants Gatwick to be his legacy after three decades in the airport infrastructure industry.
“I want to deliver world class facilities efficiently and safely,” he said. “I also want to leave a legacy of developing the next generation.
“There will be opportunities for apprentices and we have graduate engineers embedded in the development team.”
Gatwick insisted it could build a second runway quickly because of the proportion of land it had safeguarded; the low risk of construction; minimal need to disrupt traffic; private finance availability; and its semi-rural setting.
The airport today set out how it would phase up to £8.8bn of expansion, north terminal improvement, and other works.
By the end of phase 1, in 2025, a new terminal would be operational at the same time as a new runway.
Phase 2, from 2025 to 2030, would consist of extending the second runway terminal to the north, and extending the contact pier and the first section of the remote pier.
Over the next five years, phase 3 would see a further extension to the new terminal and further extension of the remote pier.
Phase 4, to 2040, would consist of completing the new terminal and the remote pier. This would complete the scheme.