Work on options for a new runway at Gatwick Airport have begun, according to Gatwick Airport Limited, but no new runway will be built for at least another seven years.
The plans will be submitted to the Independent Commission on Aviation Connectivity and the airport’s operator said in a statement that they would be consistent with Gatwick’s commitment to a 1979 legal agreement with West Sussex County Council prohibiting the construction of a new runway before 2019.
According to a statement, Gatwick published its new Masterplan in July 2012, outlining the detailed vision for the airport up to 2020. It is also said to have discussed the longer-term options for the airport, including a scenario for a new runway.
The work programme will now look in detail at the implications of a new runway and will cover all issues that Gatwick anticipates will be relevant to the commission and the eventual policy decision by the government on airport expansion.
It will evaluate various runway options and assess key requirements, including environmental, surface access and economic impacts. Relevant environmental issues will include the impact on noise and air quality in local communities.
Gatwick’s work, and subsequent submission to the commission, will include a detailed evaluation of how its existing single runway capacity can be maximised to contribute to the short-term capacity needs for London and the UK.
‘A new runway will allow Gatwick to compete and grow, increasing the choice available to passengers today,’ said Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport Limited. ‘We have the space, capability and access to financial resources.’