Gatwick Airport Sets Eyes on An Important Expansion

Despite being London’s second busiest airport and effectively having two runways, for all official purposes it operates only 1 runway. This obviously greatly limits the amount of incoming and outgoing passenger traffic that the airport can manage year after year. However things might change in coming months and years if all goes according to the Gatwick airport authority’s plan. Let’s take a look at what London Gatwick Airport is planning to do to expand operations and traffic.

London Gatwick’s Second Runway Plans

London Gatwick airport has officially submitted an application to the Planning Inspectorate to bring its second northern runway into use. The plan would have minimum disruption to the airport as minimal work would be necessary. The northern runway, with orientation 26R/08L, is already completed and would be active in a relatively short time frame.

Work to make the runway active would involve fitting proper lighting on the runway and touching up the tarmac’s surface. The effects of the northern runway entering service would be of great importance for the south London Airport.

London Gatwick Airport Train Station

Why Would It Be Important For The Airport?

Activating the second runway would allow Gatwick Airport to increase greatly the number of passengers it can handle on a yearly basis. More flights would mean more money for the airport, retail businesses in and around the airport and more jobs for the surrounding community.

Also, more flights in and out of Gatwick could help alleviate to a certain extent the congestion at London Heathrow Airport. More airlines might opt to fly out of the cheaper Gatwick airport and therefore divert some traffic away from the city’s busiest airport.

Also when the time for runway maintenance comes around the airport can continue to operate with less disruptions that what just recently happened with the repaving of the main 26L/08R runway. When the main runway was repaved just recently, no flights could take off or land during certain hours of the night and the work had to be done section by section. An operation that lasted longer than what happens in multi runway airports with many more disruptions.

Gatwick’s second runway would also protect the airport’s status as London’s second airport by importance. A new boost in traffic handled would edge it further in front of north London airport Stansted, which has become more than just a LCC (low cost carrier) hub in recent years.

Will London Gatwick Airport get a second runway?

How Long Is Gatwick’s Northern Airport?

Gatwick’s northern runway is a bit shorter than the main southern runway. While the airport’s main runway is 3,316 meters long (or 10,879 feet) the smaller northern runway clocks in at 2,565 meters (or 8,415 feet).

How Would The Two Runways Operate?

Unfortunately the runways are just too close to each other to allow simultaneous takeoffs and landings. Therefore bringing the second runway into service won’t simply double the amount of traffic the airport can handle. It’s more likely with Gatwick in a 2 runway operation system would see flights land and take off staggered. This would still represent a significant boost to the airport’s capacity. We’ll just have to wait and see what the verdict will be on Gatwick’s second runway.

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