Will Gatwick ever get a second runway? While a full second runway is certainly a long way off, the airport technically already has two runways. Simple Flying analyses the question in detail.
With London’s biggest airports running at full capacity, a whole range of options are being considered. While Heathrow is looking at the third runway option, London’s Gatwick Airport is trying to make do with what it has. This is a perfectly straight taxiway runway adjacent to the main runway. A clever loophole means that Gatwick will be able to start using both of these.
Two Gatwick runways
For all intents and purposes, London’s Gatwick Airport already has two runways. While one is used as the every day runway, the other is used as a taxiway most of the time. The second runway is only used when the primary runway is out of action. The reason for this is a dated agreement with the local council. However, this agreement has a deadline, and Gatwick hasn’t forgotten.
When the agreement expires, London Gatwick will be free to operate with two runways. This is an idea which certain members of the community aren’t particularly keen on.
How would two runways work?
The problem with Gatwick’s two runways is their proximity. While the two runways at Heathrow are separated by a number of terminals, the runways at Gatwick as separated by a small strip of grass. This means that the two runways cannot realistically be used simultaneously.
Additionally, the second runway is not set up with the correct equipment for automated approaches. As such, Gatwick has devised a novel way to use the second runway it has installed. the second runway would only be used for takeoffs, this negates the need for the installation of an expensive landing system. Secondly, the runway would only be used for small aircraft such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 family. Big planes like the A380 and A350 would still use the main runway.
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A real second runway?
Gatwick has some fairly extreme expansion ideas planned. While these remain a long way off at the moment, they could be realised one day. By using the second runway, Gatwick would be able to increase their passenger count by half according to the Independent.
As part of the planned expansion, Gatwick could embark on a huge building project that may include a full second runway. However, this is likely a long way off. Ultimately, Gatwick has previously planned to build a whole new terminal, which would have a new runway built as well. This is only speculation at this point, as the airport would need to secure a whole raft of permissions to make it a reality.
Should London Gatwick build a second runway? Let us know in the comments!