Gatwick Airport has stepped up its bid for a new runway after its busiest year on record. The airport enjoyed a 77 per cent rise in pre-tax profits in the year to March 2016, with record passenger numbers and long-haul routes boosting business. Gatwick has been vying with Heathrow over building an extra runway, but a decision over expansion is to be delayed until October.
Now, with 40.8million passengers passing through its gates last year and pre-tax profits up to £141million, Gatwick’s Chief Executive Stewart Wingate said it stood ready to have a second runway in operation in 2025 and urged the Government to give it the green light.
The news comes after the Gatwick Airport Board shared eight new pledges Gatwick Airport Ltd is prepared to make in the event of a government decision for a second runway. The Coastal West Sussex Partnership Board (CWS) supports Gatwick Airport Ltds proposals to develop a new runway due to the economic and employment benefits it will bring to the area.
In a fresh lobbying drive, a recent letter was sent to the government to outline the boards eight new pledges to help secure a third runway instead of Heathrow. Gatwick’s letter commits to boosting economic growth, capping the number of people affected by aircraft noise at much lower levels than Heathrow, keeping passenger charges at a maximum of £15 and no requirements for taxpayer subsidy.
The letter also promises the airport will not breach the air quality limits the government has set out, it pledges to introduce a noise contour cap and also states that it will compensate those most affected by noise, as well as promising shareholder commitment.
The CWS Board continues to support proposals for a second runway at Gatwick. In 2014 a report was commissioned by CWS and it looked into the impact of having or not having a second runway at Gatwick. It found that the introduction of a new runway by 2025 is likely to have a significant beneficial impact on the CWS economy. The most ambitious forecasts are for Gatwick Airport to be able to handle 95 million passengers per year and could result in CWS benefitting from an additional 1,250 Gatwick related jobs, contributing around £57m more to the local economy.