Considered to be the second busiest Airport in the UK, Gatwick Airport has recently reported that is has exceeded their 40 million passengers a year target more than 10 years before it was set to. This certainly is an impressive outcome considering the airport only has a single runway.
Whilst the summer months (June, July and August) still remain the busiest for the airport, they have even seen a rise of 7.8% in October this year compared to October of 2014. The Airport is rapidly reaching its capacity. This has resulted in a spark of interest in Gatwick building a second runway, and with some passengers choosing to fly from Gatwick and nowhere but Gatwick, the airport is in desperate need for more space.
Not everyone is best pleased about this possible expansion however. A group of South-East MPs have told BBC News that a second runway at Gatwick would be "a catastrophe for surrounding communities", but with the Airport growing at a staggering rate, what more can be done to stop it?
On November 19th, the government were encouraged to back the second runway process. As Heathrow Airport and Gatwick are both appealing that they deserve a new runway, this is not an easy task. With the airports being less than 50 miles from each other, the decision as to which airport gets their expansion relies heavily on their half-year results. As we know, Gatwick is doing better than expected but how are their London rivals doing? Heathrow Airport has been able to supply 250,000 jobs to the local area and local people, making it the biggest supplier of employment in the area. Of course, a new runway would increase this and they are certainly in need of the space as they deal with 201,000 arrivals and departures per day, according to the official Heathrow website.
If the runway at Gatwick goes ahead, it could take until 2025 for it to be built and finished, so the decision needs to be a quick one. Whilst the favour currently sits with Heathrow, Gatwick isn’t giving up easily and with their impressive half-year results it’s looking more and more promising that they could get what they want, and more importantly, need.
So, what are the experts saying when it comes to this long-winded debate? “It strikes me that with a price tag of £7bn, and involving far less home demolition and noise pollution, an extra Gatwick runway is a far more logical option.” - Liam Halligan – The Telegraph. It seems that with this incredible and slightly shocking increase in passengers and it becoming the cheaper option overall, will the government end up swaying towards the Horley airport? Well, we will just have to wait and see!