London Gatwick’s Second Runway Will Vastly Boost Passenger Numbers

The number of passengers flying from London Gatwick Airport will be vastly boosted if current plans go ahead. The airport’s proposal is to allow the use of their emergency runway for regular flights.
London Gatwick Airport
London Gatwick Airport is planning to highly increase its passenger foothold over the next few decades. Photo: Mike McBey via Flickr

Sky News reports that the second busiest airport in the UK could see an extra 90,000 departing flights by 2038. This change would ultimately bring a further 28 million passengers through the London hub each year.

Past restrictions

Currently, the Northern Runway is only used when the main runway is inactive. However, Gatwick is reportedly planning an application to permanently open the other runway by 2026.
There had previously been a restriction in place to prevent both runways being in use at the same time. This legislation had, however, expired in August, which now allows scope for revision.
The reports also show that Gatwick is planning to extend both north and south terminals. The work on these properties is expected to be completed by 2029. The extensions would increase the airport’s total capacity to 74 million travelers per year by 2038. This is just under two thirds more than the capacity last year.
Along with this, the airport plans to build three new hotels around the airport’s vicinity by 2032. Two of the new buildings will hold up to 400 rooms, which will comfortably accommodate the boost in passengers.
Gatwick South Terminal
Both of Gatwick’s north and south terminals would see expansion under the new plans. Photo: Dbx54 via Wikimedia Commons

Increased flights

The overhauls will see the increase in flights to 373,000 per year over the next two decades. This is in comparison of 284,000 flights during the whole of 2018.
The Northern Runway will be used for smaller airliners departing the South East airport. Regional carriers such as easyJet may benefit from the opening of this airstrip. Meanwhile, long haul specialists such as British Airways would benefit from the space made on the main runway.
Gatwick’s chief planning officer, Tim Norwood, previously told Airports International of the importance of the planning application.
“As the biggest private investment in our region for many years, the start of the process to use our existing Northern Runway is a significant milestone. This project has the capacity to offer significant local economic benefits, new jobs and an exciting future for the region.”
British Airways Boeing 744
British Airways have a significant presence in Gatwick and would highly benefit from more runway space Photo: BriYYZ via Wikimedia Commons

Opposing views

There has been a desire to increase Gatwick’s airport capacity for many years. However, the UK government favored Heathrow’s plans for building a new runway.
Gatwick now hopes that by using existing runways, the government can see value in approving the new plans. Even though the airport is not as busy as Heathrow, it is still far busier than other UK hubs.
There has nonetheless been opposition to the proposals in place. Campaign group Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions claims that the implementation would ultimately mean that the airport has a new runway.
Simple Flying reached out to Gatwick for comment on the proposals. A spokeperson replied with the airport’s official statement on the consultations held regarding the proposed move.
Gatwick has stated that they will assess any environmental impact and will now follow a process to gain planning permission. The final decision will be made by the Secretary of State for Transport of the United Kingdom.


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It sure would have helped if a runway diagram or overhead photo of Gatwick had been included in the story. Most non-UK folks find it hard to understand Gatwick has two existing runways, but one has been encumbered by government policy.

stephen haysom

This expansion of Gatwick is entirely incompatible with the declared climate emergency; dumping 1m additional tonnes of CO2 p.a. at a time when we are experiencing more frequent extreme weather events would be absolute madness and expose the hypocrisy of this administration