The Sunday Times, today 14 October 2018, is reporting that Gatwick airport is to unveil plans for an effective second runway.
The paper, presumably on the basis of off-the-record briefing by Gatwick PRs, reports that Gatwick plans to unveil a new airport masterplan this coming Thursday.
Under these plans, its shorter standby runway would be brought into regular use for short-haul aircraft. The legal basis for this is the imminent expiry of an agreement made in 1979 not to build a second runway at Gatwick.
This would require approval from the Civil Aviation Authority. The Sunday Times has been briefed that this move could increase the airport’s capacity by 20% – 30%, adding up to 231 extra flights a day. Such a move would clearly require additional terminal infrastructure. Given the close proximity of the two runways, there will be inevitable safety concerns.
Gatwick airport campaigned vociferously for it to be chosen to have a new runway over Heathrow. However, the Government first indicated Heathrow was its preferred airport for a new runway nearly two years ago. The expansion of Heathrow is of course mired in legal challenges. This is something that Gatwick will not be immune to.
That is not the only Gatwick story in today’s papers. The Mail On Sunday, citing “City sources”, is reporting that Global Infrastructure Partners is close to selling its remaining 42% stake in the airport.