Allowing a second runway at Gatwick is just one of several options for airport expansion in South East England, which has been a difficult issue for the Government.
After coming under pressure last year to reverse the Coalition’s commitment not to allow another runway at Heathrow, the Prime Minister set up an Independent Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to look into options for expansion and report its findings after the 2015 General Election.
Gatwick is currently developing detailed expansion plans that could double the airport’s annual capacity to around 70 million passengers and is to submit its case to the commission over the coming months.
The airport was sold by Heathrow owner BAA in 2009 to a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) is the majority shareholder.
Rival options the commission is expected to decide on include expanding Heathrow or Stanstead and building a new airport in Thames Estuary.
Gatwick’s plans include evaluations of the environmental and economic impacts on the local area, which is likely to be fraught as campaigners have protested that the expansion will harm the environment and raise noise levels. It is legally committed not to build a second runway before 2019.
James Colman, corporate affairs and sustainability director at Gatwick Airport, said: ‘We believe a second runway at Gatwick could present the best long-term solution to the future capacity constraints in the South East.
‘We have the room to grow and our continued investment is proof that we’re putting passengers first. Fishburn Hedges and LCA are proving to be crucial partners for our team as we ensure we make our voice heard in this important debate.